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Blackburn, colleagues introduce WWII nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act
May 22, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC –- U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Angus King (I-Maine), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced the WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act. In the House, the WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act has been introduced by U.S. Representatives Anthony Brown (D-Md.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

“Our nurses made an allied victory during WWII possible,” said Senator Blackburn. “These fearless patriots saved lives and got our troops back on the battlefield. This legislation will recognize America’s WWII nurses and award them with the long overdue honor of a Congressional Gold Medal.”

“I am so honored to have an opportunity to work with Wisconsinites on behalf of patriotic women who served and sacrificed for our country in such a heroic way during World War II,” said Senator Baldwin. “I want to thank my Senate colleagues for working with me across party lines to support this bipartisan legislation which finally recognizes, respects, and rewards the brave service of so many members of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.”

“America’s nurses who served our nation during World War II did so with honor and distinction,” Senator Daines said. “The compassion and care they gave undoubtedly contributed to America’s victory, and for that they have earned Congress’ highest honor—the Congressional Gold Medal.”

“The American Red Cross applauds the WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act in honor of the brave women who served as members of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and U.S. Navy Nurse Corps,” said Linda MacIntyre, Chief Nurse, American Red Cross. “Despite historical inequities based on gender and race, women shared their expertise as nurses and physicians to foster wellbeing and mitigate suffering and death. I am deeply grateful for the resilience, legacy and inspiration of these extraordinary nurses and their colleagues.”

“When we look back on the extraordinary efforts by ordinary Americans during World War II, nurses deserve our recognition, gratitude, and honor. These heroes were on the front lines of the war, serving under fire, to save the lives of fellow servicemembers and allies fighting for freedom,” said Congressman Anthony G. Brown, a 30-year Army veteran. “Their service to our nation saved lives and helped turn the tide of this great war. The example they set paved the way for the Army and Navy Nurse Corps members to follow. Their devotion, bravery, and patriotism have earned them Congress’ highest honor.”

“Nurses during World War II put their lives on the line for our nation and performed essential combat services to save others. Their significant contributions to the United States’ success in World War II deserves to be remembered. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to recognize the service and sacrifice of these brave nurses and ensure they are properly recognized for their service to our nation,” said Congresswoman Stefanik.

A copy of the WWII Nurses Congressional Gold Medal Act is available here.

In 1935, prior to the start of World War II in December 1941, there were fewer than 600 U.S. Army Nurses and 1,700 U.S. Navy Nurses on active duty. By the time the war ended, more than 59,000 Army Nurses and 14,000 Navy Nurses had volunteered to serve. The bipartisan legislation, which is being introduced in the Senate and House, will award a Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the brave women who served in World War II as members of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. One such instance of bravery is highlighted by the story of Lt. Ellen Ainsworth of Glenwood City, WI. Despite being struck in the chest by shrapnel while her hospital was attacked in Anzio, Italy, she and three other nurses evacuated forty-two patients to safety. Lt. Ainsworth eventually succumbed to her injuries. She and the other nurses involved in the attack were awarded the Silver Star for bravery – the first women to receive this commendation from the Army.

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