Story by Robert Kerns on 02/05/2019
FORT BRAGG, N.C.People from across Fort Bragg and the local community gathered in
Womack Army Medical Center's Weaver Auditorium to celebrate the U.S. Army Nurse Corps
118 birthday, February 1.
Civilians, medical professionals both active duty and retired braved the cold weather to
honor the back bone of Army medicine.
Retired and new members of the nurse corps were honored at the beginning of the
ceremony by master of ceremonies WAMC Chief Nursing Officer Col. Colette McKinney when
she expressed the honor of having nurses at both ends of the spectrum gathered together in one
In a prerecorded message to those in attendance Chief of the Army Nurse Corps, Maj.
Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb spoke to the history of Army nurses and their impact on Army
"Nurses have engaged in every major conflict since the Army Nurse Corps officially
became a permeant cops in 1901," said Holcomb. "Nurses operate in all realms of Army
Medicine exemplifying this year's corps birthday theme anywhere, anytime, always ready."
Keynote speaker Retired U.S. Army Colonel Vinette Gordon began her remarks by,
challenging all nurses in attendance to continue to contribute to the Army Nurse Corps in 2019,
"so we can once again come together to honor and celebrate this nursing journey."
Gordon surprised recent clinical nurse transition program attendees, "to share with us
where you work and what is your proudest moment of being an Army Nurse thus far."
"I'm most proud to be working a combined team of civilian and military," a surprised
2nd Lt. Payton Ambrose answered.
Gordon took time to recognize those in the audience who are preparing to deploy and
thanked them for their sacrifice.
She passionately spoke about the Army Nurse Corps' Emergency Nurse Practitioner
Program saying they, "have the skills, the passion, and the commitment to get our warfighters to
the next level of care which may very well be that civilian trauma center or foreign medical
She continued saying the new Enroute Critical Care Nurses, "capability will give us more
opportunity to support the warfighter anywhere."
Gordon encouraged young nurses read journals to stay abreast of the ever changing
standards of their trade, join nursing associations and to get mentors to use as a guidepost and
bounce ideas off of.
She wrapped up her time stating, the nurses who shaped our history rose from the bottom.
They were geniuses and left us with the tool kit to keep climbing. She then challenged everyone
in the audience to be bold, audacious and inquisitive.
Acting Hospital Commander Col. David Hamilton spoke to the importance of the nurse
population at WAMC.
"Approximately, 1,500 people who work here are nurses," said Hamilton. "We are
thankful for a professional corps of people who care for others through their entire hospital stay.
You are the reason corpsmen and medics aspire to be more."
The birthday celebration was followed by a traditional cake cutting and refreshments.
The celebration was short lived as many of the nurses in attendance were anxious to return to