Family working to recognize WWII Cadet Nurses as veterans

A postcard made by a member of Doris Kent's family

They responded to a call for service during WWII, making the Cadet Nurse Corps the largest group of women in uniform to serve the country.

But, they never received any military recognition or benefits since they served.

The family of Doris Kent, 91, of Green City, is fighting for not only her, but for the thousands of other nurses who helped the country during one of its biggest times of need.

“She enlisted in the US Cadet Nurse Corps at the age of 17,” said Doris’s granddaughter, Sarah Cox. “I use the word enlist because there would have been a draft for nurses if 180,000 women hadn’t answered the call to serve the country when they were needed.”

In 1943, around 250,000 nurses were recruited for overseas military duty.

The Cadet Nurse Corps program was created to fill the gap, and continue medical care for those still in the country back at home.

Cox said her grandma enlisted on September 4, 1944, believing she would be given military benefits.

“Growing up, I was really proud to have two grandparents that served in WWII. My mom talked about how both of my parents really are essentially veterans, but my grandmother was never recognized as a veteran through legislation,” Cox explained.

Cox said the Cadet Nurse Corps are the only uniformed corps from WWII that have not been recognized as veterans through legislation.

“She’s a very proud woman and served faithfully and loyally, and that’s part of her service, is that she served and isn’t going to make a big fuss about trying to get this veterans status, so we’re fighting on her behalf,” Cox said. “Now, myself and my cousins, aunts and uncles are fighting for her to get that honor and recognition she deserves. Not only her, but these other women who served in the US Cadet Nurse Corps as well.”

The extended family of Doris Kent has been busy contacting legislators to get HR1168 passed, which is currently stalled in a special committee.

There is a rush to get the bill passed, as the age of the women who participated in the Nurse Corps program is mostly over 90.

“They could enlist at the age of 17, that was the youngest you could be, so 1943 being the first year and it going through 1948, most of these women are 90 years old or older.”

Just one more reason why relatives of Doris Kent are working tirelessly to get her the recognition she, and so many others deserve.

“She was very tough, she was proud, she grew up during the Great Depression era, and you could see that,” Cox said. “She was always very tough but loved all her grandchildren, she has 19 grandchildren, and 21 great grandchildren and counting.”

If someone you know served in the US Cadet Nurse Corps, please contact KTVO.

For more information, visit the World War II Cadet Nurses Should Be Veterans Facebook page.

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