A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

June 2001/July 2001

Women Veterans Committee

Women's Proud Traditions

By Marsha Four, Chair

"Ready, Caring, Proud.'' This motto of the Army Nurse Corps has stood the test of time. Nurses have attended in battle and served our military troops since the Revolutionary War. This year marks the Corps' centennial. In 1775, George Washington appointed female nurses to care for the wounded in the anticipation of war. They received $2 per month. After the war, nurses all but disappeared from the Army. They reappeared during major conflicts, but usually on a volunteer basis.

Surgeon General George Sternberg, after viewing the efforts of nurses on the front lines in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, realized their contribution and the need for their continued presence in the Army. Anita Newcomb McGee wrote an Army Nurse Corps bill, which Congress passed on February 2, 1901. In 1947, nurses were recognized as commissioned officers. In 1955, men were permitted to serve in their ranks. The Army Nurse Corps has a proud history of service and sacrifice. Vietnam Veterans of America wishes the Army Nurse Corps a happy 100th Anniversary.

The VA Center for Women Veterans

Established through legislation in 1994, the mission of the Center for Women Veterans is to insure women veterans receive VA benefits and services on par with male veteran; to insure VA programs are responsive to the gender-specific needs of women veterans; to perform outreach to inform women veterans of available VA benefits and services; and to insure women veterans are treated with respect, dignity, and understanding by VA service providers.

Women veterans found a champion in Joan Furey, the Center's first director. The accomplishments of the Center are a tribute to her commitment and leadership. Joan Furey was not reappointed director. She now serves in the Office of Policy and Planning at VA Central Office. We will miss her energy and drive.

Women veterans are asking who will be appointed the new director and why there was no transition period. We hope VA Secretary Principi will announce his nominee soon; the demands placed on the three remaining staffers are great.

The U.S. Army Women Veteran's Museum

This museum was dedicated on May 11 at a ceremony at Fort Lee, Virginia. The new facility, featuring more than forty exhibits from a collection of nearly five thousand artifacts, represents women of the Army's past, present, and future. Fort Lee was the home and training center of the WAC from 1948 to 1954. The exhibits are arranged chronologically. Jerry Burgess, the museum director, said: "Women from all walks of life will find this museum fascinating since the women's story in the Army is directly related to the struggles of women in general.''


On April 19, the VVA Women Veterans Committee presented a $10,000 donation to retired Army Gen. Wilma Vaught for The Women's Memorial (WIMSA) on behalf of VVA. Gen Vaught expressed her deep appreciation to our membership for the contribution. The Committee discussed with Gen. Vaught our consideration of a project to help her acquire state flags for the WIMSA Hall of Honor. I addressed the Council of State Council Presidents and suggested a contribution. State Council Presidents will be donating or requesting the contribution of their state flags for display in the WIMSA Hall of Honor.

Sharon Ann Lane Medical Memorial Center

According to a letter I received from the Friends of Sharon Ann Lane Foundation, there was a reversal of the decision by the People's Committee of Chu Lai District in Vietnam, and the Sharon Ann Lane Memorial Clinic was not dedicated on March 22 as previously scheduled.

I would like to take the opportunity to applaud all the members of this committee for their effort, energy, input, and dedication to the goals of the Women Veterans Committee. We have worked together to increase membership and advance the cause and concerns of all veterans, especially women veterans. It has been an honor working with all of you. Thank you for all your help.


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