Women Veterans Honored…Posted: March 16, 2014
Information from VA Public Affairs, Washington, DC
Two of VA’s 151 hospitals/medical centers are named after women.
The VA hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, was the first Federal veterans facility named after a woman. A bill was first introduced in 1964 to honor Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, who had died four years earlier; however, the bill did not go through. Another attempt was made nearly 15 years later and the facility was finally designated as the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital by Congress on August 28, 1978.
Edith Nourse Rogers was one of the first Congresswomen from New England and had dedicated herself to veterans and their issues during World War I. She introduced the unprecedented bill to establish the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (abbreviated as WACs) in 1941. When the law passed in 1942, it opened up military service to thousands of women in countless occupations other than nursing. Over 150,000 women served in the WACs during World War II. Edith Nourse Rogers dedicated her life to veteran’s issues for more than 40 years and was a co-sponsor of the 1944 Montgomery “G.I.” Bill. Link to her Congressional biography: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=r000392.
The VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan, was the second facility named after a woman and the first named after a female servicemember or veteran. The first attempt to name the Saginaw hospital after Michigan native and World War II flight nurse, Aleda E. Lutz, was made in 1949 while the hospital was under construction, but the bill was tabled. Forty-one years later, on August 15, 1990, Congress signed Saginaw’s honorary name into law. Since then a U.S. Army hospital ship and a C-47 plane have been named after her.
1st Lt. Aleda Lutz was a dedicated World War II flight nurse and volunteered with the 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Squadron. She flew 196 missions, helped evacuate over 3,500 men during the war, and became the second woman recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross (Amelia Earhart was the first). She died while on a mission transporting 15 wounded men in southern France on November 1, 1944 and is buried in the American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery in Rhone, France. Links: