The United States Army Nurse Corps (ANC) was formally established by the US Congress in 1901. Women served as nurses in previous wars, but it wasn’t until 1901 that they were officially on Army Payroll.
The Virginia Peninsula was already engaged in wartime work when President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany on April 6, 1917. Local military bases, shipyards, air fields, ports, and people turned their faces toward the nation’s crusade to make the world safe for democracy.
By mid-September 1918, the first cases of the Spanish Flu were reported, impacting the soldiers, sailors, and workers coming into the Hampton Roads community to support the war effort. Bases and ships had to be built, requiring more workers than Hampton Roads had ever seen before.
The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was formed in 1942. It was the first time, and the only group, that integrated women into the United States Military. Around 150,000 women volunteered to serve in the WAC during World War II.
The Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (HRPE) was the third largest US Army Transportation Corps port of embarkation during WWII. It served as a hub for the movements of millions of troops between 1942-1946.
The USS Roanoke was a Merrimack-class steam screw frigate built at the Gosport Navy Yard. When the Civil War erupted, Roanoke captured several blockade runners and fought during the March 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads.