World War II Nurse Regina Benson Honors the Forgotten Female Veterans of World War I

At 102-years old, World War II Army nurse Regina Benson continues to share the story of her military service while also honoring the women who came before her. A member of American Legion Post 270 in McLean, Virginia, Benson received the Armed Services YMCA’s Angel of Honor Award in 2020 in recognition of her wartime service in the Pacific Theater. During her acceptance speech, she reflected on her experiences in the Army Nurse Corps and explained that she accepted the award not for herself, “but on behalf of all the medical personnel who served in World War II.”

Benson also remains interested in learning about the female veterans from World War I who paved the way for her own military service. After American Legion Post 270 hosted me for a book talk as part of their Distinguished Speaker Series in January 2022, the Post’s leadership invited me to come back to meet Benson in person, since the event had been moved to a virtual format due to the pandemic. On a beautiful early spring day in March, we gathered outside a local library with Benson and her daughter. We eagerly listened as Benson recounted stories from her time in the Pacific, and I answered her inquisitive questions about the women who served in World War I. I was honored to present Regina with a signed copy of my book, but even more honored to have the opportunity to meet her and pay tribute to her military service, all while raising awareness about the generation of female veterans who preceded her.