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    Navy Nurse Corps Anniversary

    Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point (NHCCP) personnel commemorated the 113th Navy Nurse Corps anniversary with a cake cutting ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, May 13, 2021. The cake cutting was a celebration of not only the clinic’s history and heritage, but the entire Navy Nurse Corps.

    “We do a cake cutting in honor of Florence Nightingale, and then for all of us who wear the uniform, present, retirees, whomever; we honor each other by saying happy birthday and recognizing our dedication to the care of our patients,” said Cmdr. Karen M. Gray, the Chief Nursing Officer at NHCCP.

    On May 13, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Naval Appropriations Bill, establishing the U.S. Nurse Corps as a unique staff corps in the Navy.

    In its early stages, the Navy Nurse Corps was exclusively female. By October 1908, the heart of the Corps was comprised of Superintendent Esther Hasson, chief nurse Lenah Higbee, and 18 other women. They would forever be written in history as the “Sacred Twenty.”

    “They were the trailblazers of the Nurse Corps,” said Gray. “They were setting the tone that we would be a supportive force.”

    According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, when the United States entered into the World War I in April 1917, it brought about a great expansion of the Nurse Corps, both active and reserve. By the time of the armistice on November 11, 1918, more than 1,300 nurses had served in naval hospitals and other facilities, including wartime hospitals in the United Kingdom and France. The Short History of Military Nursing stated that by the end of World War II on September 2, 1945, the Corps had grown to 1,799 active members and 9,222 reserves. In addition to size, the Navy Nurse Corps grew in diversity. According to the United Service Organizations (USO), the first African-American nurse joined March 8, 1945. By 1966, George M. Silver would become the first man to be commissioned in the Navy Nurse Corps.

    “It was a different beast back then,” said Gray. “How we’re handling COVID is similar to how they handled the influenza pandemic in 1918. It’s the same practice. Florence Nightingale was involved in getting people to wash their hands more frequently and from there it’s continued to grow and evolve.”

    Members of the Navy Nurse Corps have provided medical care to service members, military families, and other people in need around the world for many years. Today, Navy Nurses continue to work hand in hand with our hospital corpsmen, physicians, dentists, and administrators to keep the nation’s warfighters in the fight.

    “The Nurse Corps is always ready, relevant and resilient,” said Gray. “It’s our motto because we can go anywhere - any theater, any threat, and we can thrive.”



    Date Taken: 05.13.2021
    Date Posted: 06.04.2021 15:42
    Story ID: 396351
    Location: NC, US

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