Military Nurses During World War II

Tens of thousands of American women served as military nurses during World War II. As members of the Army Nurse Corps, Navy Nurse Corps, and Cadet Nurse Corps, they cared for patients in Europe, the Pacific, and on the home front. Many of them risked their lives. When the Japanese Army occupied the Philippines, it captured 99 military nurses and held them as prisoners of war for three years. At the same time, nurses of color and their advocates, like Mabel Keaton Staupers, demanded an equal chance to practice their profession and serve their country.

Explore some of the stories of World War II military nurses on this page.

A group of African American women in military uniform standing in rows.
Army Nurse Corps

About 60,000 women served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II.

A group of women in military uniform smiles and waves while seated in an open wagon
Nurse POWs in the Philippines

When the Japanese Army captured the Philippines in 1942, 99 nurses became prisoners of war. They treated patients in captivity for 3 years.

An East Asian woman in nurse's uniform adjusts pillow of another East Asian woman lying in bed
Cadet Nurse Corps

During World War II, more than 100,000 American women served their country as members of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps.

Illustrated poster of two white women with brown hair wearing nurses' uniform
(H)our History Lesson: Cadet Nurse Corps

This lesson plan introduces learners to the Cadet Nurse Corps, which averted a shortage of nurses on the American WWII home front.

An African American woman and a white woman, both middle aged, shake hands
Learning from Mabel Keaton Staupers

Mabel Keaton Staupers fought for the integration of Black nurses through World War II.

African American woman with hair pulled back wearing cat eye glasses. She appears middle aged.
Places of Mabel Keaton Staupers

This page collects several historic places associated with Mabel Keaton Staupers, tireless advocate for Black nurses.

Last updated: November 30, 2023