The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Give WWII Cadet Nurses the Veteran Status They Deserve

Jun 18, 2019

Dr. Barbara Poremba ’72, former dean Dr. Ann Sheridan G’83 and Dr. Karen Johnson G’76, former faculty are fighting to get honorary veteran’s status for nurses who served in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps during World War II. Working with Senator Warren, a Bill was introduced in Congress in April 2019.

You have an incredible opportunity to honor these nurses.

A little history: The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps (USCNC) was created by Congress in July 1943 to ensure the United States had an adequate number of nurses to care for its citizens on the home-front during World War II.  Participants went through an accelerated training program and received a small stipend and uniforms. They pledged to serve actively in civilian and military hospitals as well as or government services roles for the duration of the war, not knowing when it would end. 124,000 nurses from every state served, including African American, American Indian, and Japanese American nurses.

Former dean Dr. Lillian Goodman, former faculty Dr. Barbara Banik, and Karen Moore G’89 mother were all cadet nurses as was Dr. Lucie Kelly who received an honorary degree from UMass College of Nursing. Founding faculty Mary Gilmore Helming taught in the Cadet Nurse Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cadet Nurses are now in their nineties and passing this bill while those who served are still alive is impactful. USCNC nurses are the only uniformed corps members from WWII who have not been recognized as veterans. With this bill, they will be honorary veterans and have a graveside plaque and American Flag. 

The “United States Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition ActH.R.2056 S.997 is 100% backed by national organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Nurses Association.

Take Action Now!

Please take two minutes to help pass this important initiative. To watch interviews with Cadet Nurses and to keep apprised of this initiative, please visit the website and the Facebook page. Have any questions? Please email Dr. Barbara Poremba, Director, at

Thank you for helping to honor these nurses who gave so much to our country and to our profession.

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