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Army Nurse Corps History Home

Highlights in the History
of the
Army Nurse Corps


The Army Nurse Corps has a truly rich and proud history. The dedication and commitment of the past members of this great Corps have shaped who we are today. As we move toward the close of our first century of caring for our soldiers, their family members, and our retirees, we should not only look back at the marvelous achievements of our predecessors but, even more importantly, look forward to the challenges of today and those of the future.

We are an extremely talented professional nursing organization, comprising many of the best and brightest individuals in the profession of nursing. Together we will positively and successfully continue to address and resolve the issues of today, always focusing on the implications and impact of our decisions on those that will follow.

The vision of our Corps is to remain competent and knowledgeable in our core competencies: clinical skills, education, research, and leadership. We are totally dedicated to remaining the premier nursing organization in the country, providing leadership to the Army Medical Department and care to our Army families, both at home and abroad. If we continue to keep our priorities focused on providing quality nursing care, while at the same time affording our officers, NCOs, and civilians the professional, educational, and clinical opportunities to advance within our profession, then we will most assuredly continue to expand on the great organization we have been so fortunate to inherit.

We are proud to have been chosen to lead this fine organization into the new millennium. Our future will rely on our persistent emphasis on the following leadership goals:

  • Maintaining our core nursing competencies. They will prepare us to successfully serve in positions of greater responsibility throughout the AMEDD.

  • Making decisions collaboratively. Decisions cannot, and will not, be made in a vacuum. Input from the field is imperative in making the decisions that will place us in a strategic position to confront the nursing and health care challenges of the new millennium.

  • Valuing each other. We must take care of each other and ourselves. Taking time out to reenergize is important not only for ourselves, but for the organization as a whole. We need to be at our best at all times.

  • Mentoring. It is through strong mentorship we develop our young officers in whose hands we will leave our legacy. We owe it to the Corps to ensure that the future is bright and secure.

  • Communicating. Listening is the key to strong and open communication. As leaders we must listen to our peers as well as to our subordinates. Listening and communicating are qualities of a strong and successful leader. We all must strive to communicate our views and work together to learn from one another.
    These highlights of our past are a testament to our heritage and our contributions to the Army Medical Department, the Army, and our nation. We ask you to embrace our past as we mold the future of the Army Nurse Corps, together, in the new millennium.

Colonel, USA
Assistant Chief, Army Nurse Corps

Brigadier General, USA
Chief, Army Nurse Corps


The Nurse Corps (female) became a permanent corps of the Medical Department on February 2, 1901, under the Army Reorganization Act (31 Stat. 753) passed by the Congress. Since that time, the Army Nurse Corps has remained abreast of technological and educational advances in the field of nursing and has remained a viable force of change in the military. The number of accomplishments within the Corps far surpasses the amount which can be included in the Nursing Highlights. The Nursing Highlights chronicle the important events and individual citations of the Army Nurse Corps, but is limited to some of the most notable contributions of Corps members and major milestones of the Corps. They include some of the major milestones and notable contributions of its members but are not intended to provide an analysis of historical events.

Emphasis is placed on the continuance of excellence within the Corps in the provision of the highest quality of nursing care to soldiers and their families, retired military, and various worldwide humanitarian and combat missions.

History provides a platform from which to herald the future, first by providing an understanding of change and progress and also by providing lessons learned with which to better prepare for future missions. Historically significant events and contributions effect change and demonstrate the ongoing flexibility and resourcefulness of the Army Nurse Corps as it has developed into a technologically and professionally astute force within the AMEDD.

Noted contributions of Corps members to the military and civilian communities include areas of nursing practice, education, administration, and research, and philanthropic. There are many Corps members who have contributed significantly that are not mentioned due to inherent limitations of the Highlights, but their contributions are nevertheless vital to the strides in excellence that the Army Nurse Corps continues to make. Committed and professional leadership has molded the Corps into a successful and proud one.

This chronology was first prepared in 1959, with revisions in 1960, 1961, 1973, 1975, 1981, 1987, 1995, and 1996, 2000, and is currently undergoing additions and revisions for the years 2000-2012.

If specific information is needed in more detail, the Army Nurse Corps Historian can be contacted in writing or by phone, fax, or e-mail. The authors remain responsible for errors and omissions. Internet publications now make the ANC Highlights available and easier to access from the Office of Medical History website at the following link:


LTC (P) Nancy Bullard Cantrell
Army Nurse Corps Historian
Office of Medical History
Fort Sam Houston, Texas





A. Superintendents and Chiefs of the Army Nurse Corps
B. First Assistants to the Superintendents and Assistant Chiefs of the Army Nurse Corps
C. Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee Award
D. The Evangeline G. Bovard Award
E. Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing
F. The Phyllis J. Verhonick Award
G. Army Nurse Corps White House Medical Unit
H. Army Nurse Corps Medal
I. Advanced Nursing Practice Award
J. Chief, Army Nurse Corps, Award of Excellence
K. Army Nurse Corps Historians
L. Amita Award
M. Memorials