WASHINGTON (WJHL) — One of Tennessee’s two U.S. senators says he thinks the full Senate should debate a bill that would grant veteran status to women nurses who served in World War II.
In response to the News Channel 11 report, a spokesman for Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee) said he supports moving Senate Bill 1220 to honor the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps to the Senate floor for debate.
Last week, News Channel 11 reported on the push by some to give honorary veteran status to surviving members of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps. The United States Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act of 2021 is the latest federal legislative attempt to acknowledge the work of the estimated 124,000 nurses who served in response to a call for help by the U.S. Government to address a shortage of nurses.
U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps members wore uniforms and worked under the supervision of the government from 1943 to 1948. But despite their critical role in World War II, they’ve never been granted veteran status.
96-year-old Agnes Lowe of Johnson says she and her fellow Cadet Nurse Corps survivors aren’t asking for veterans benefits – only the ability to be recognized for the service at their funeral.
“I think we deserve it because we answered the call,” Lowe said in a recent interview with News Channel 11.
The legislation says, “Such individuals are not entitled to Department of Veterans Affairs benefits aside from those related to burials and memorials. The bill also authorizes DOD to produce a service medal or other commendation, memorial plaque, or grave marker to honor the individuals.”
But while Hagerty is supporting debate on the legislation, his spokesman stopped short of offering his full support, saying he’s “reviewing it carefully to determine whether it serves in the best interest of our honorable service members.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is the sponsor of S. 1220. The companion bill H.R. 2568 is sponsored by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois).