Major Contributions of U.S. Cadet Nurses during World War 2: Remembering our Veterans
Our weekly series, Remembering our Veterans continues with the story of an Erie couple, the late Elaine and Claude Sturtevant, told through their daughter Carolyn.
She worked for the library of congress and participated in a program authorized by congress, the veterans history project.
Thinking of her parents later in life brings a tear or two to Carolyn Sturtevant, her dad served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 46 and took part in a very selective officer training program.
"I don't think he saw himself as a great World War 2 hero," said Carolyn. "He never felt a need to go to the V.A. and ask for help for medical services."
Carolyn's mother entered the Hamot Hospital School of Nursing in 1943 as a trainee in the new congressional-instituted U.S. Cadet Nurse Corp. The government paid for the Cadet Nurses tuition, and issued uniforms.
"I saw figures of 7,000 army nurses at the time Pearl Harbor happened and at the end of the war there were 57,000," said Carolyn.
The Friends of the U.S. Cadet Nurses went to get "Honorary Veteran" status for the 124,000 U.S. Cadet Nurses who filled the gaps, when so many nurses joined military units.
As part of her assignment with the Veterans History Project, she taped interviews with six veterans at the World War 2 reunion on the mall, and some of the stories are bone chilling.
"I think of the compassion of the nurses the compassion I saw in my mother," said Carolyn. "And that was sad to them."
There has been no decisive action taken by Congress over the years on the legislation supported by the Friends group, but they continue to look for support through social media and their website.
Many feel the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corp deserves more than just an audience.