This Veteranâ€™s Day, we also celebrate the selfless contributions of veterans like Navy Nurse Elma Bustle of Chesapeake. Prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there were less than 7,000 nurses in the Army and Navy Nurse Corps. World War II ushered in a new period for womenâ€™s involvement in the war effort. By the end of World War II, nearly 77,000 American women had served as U.S. military nurses, many of whom received commendations and decorations. Ms. Bustle is one of those brave women who served honorably as a Navy nurse during World War II.
Stationed at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital during her active duty, Ms. Bustle provided wounded soldiers with invaluable life-saving care. More than physical healers, military nurses like Ms. Bustle also provided emotional healing, showing care and compassion for battle-worn soldiers. Ms. Bustleâ€™s daughter, Aurey Kirk, recently described her now 90 year-old mother as a strong woman with a love for the Navy and a lifelong passion for caring for others. The work of nurses like Ms. Bustle bolstered Americaâ€™s military strength, lowering post-injury mortality rates for our forces serving abroad during World War II.
Think of the American armed forces as a chain. Each link in the chain must do its job and provide strength for each link around it. Ms. Bustle and other veterans like her represent a link that the chain could not have succeeded without. Today, we celebrate the entire chain --the mess hall cooks, accountants, logistics specialists, cryptologists, translators, and mechanicsâ€”without whose service, no campaign could succeed. Today, we celebrate the heroic contributions of all veterans â€“ not only those who carried ammunition and arms, but those who supported those missions.