Preserving Our Past, Capitalizing on the Present, Embracing the Future

Highlights in the History of the Army Nurse Corps, 1990 to 2000

In August 1990, Iraqi armed forces invaded and occupied the country of Kuwait. At the request of the Saudi Arabian government, the United States deployed combat troops, including U.S. Army ground forces, to aid in the defense of Saudi Arabia, which neighbors Kuwait, in an action called Desert Shield/Storm.

86th Evacuation HospitalThe campaign required 13,580 operating beds in 44 field hospitals in four countries, including 17 Army Reserve and 11 National Guard hospitals. Army National Guard's 109th Evacuation HospitalArmy nursing deployment for this conflict differed from the Vietnam War in that two of every three of the 86th Evac staff erecting DEPMEDS modules2,200 nurses were from the guard or reserve. In this massive deployment, unprecedented for its speed, these health care professionals were instrumental in standing up the new Deployable Medical Systems (DEPMEDS) field hospitals.

Throughout this decade, Army nurses played an important role in primary care. Nurse-managed clinics and Family Nurse Practitioners had significant impact on patient care in the outpatient setting. These healthcare professionals participated in innovative remote patient monitoring via “electronic house calls” for chronic illnesses.

The talented cohort of Army Nurse Corps officers competed with other members of the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) for command positions. Selection of officers for branch immaterial command was a testament to how these nurses were leader-developed. Providing, managing, and leading in the delivery of nursing care effectively prepared Army nurses to serve at all levels of the organization.

ANC officers were active throughout the world both in armed conflicts and humanitarian, peacekeeping, and Mohaamed Nur, patient in 86th Evacuation Hosp., Somalia, 1993nation-building endeavors. After the fall of the Somalian government in 1991, Operation Restore Hope was mounted as a humanitarian effort in the resulting civil unrest and near-starvation of the people. Over the course of 13 months, 3 field hospitals were sequentially Lt. Patricia Hall with a wounded Somali boydeployed to a mission that quickly devolved from humanitarian aid to combat. During this deployment AMEDD personnel in the African country cared for the largest single-day volume of combat casualties since the Vietnam War.

Operation Provide Promise was a humanitarian relief operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav Wars. From 2 July 1992 to 9 January 1996 was the longest-running humanitarian airlift in history. Army nurses served in several hospitals sent consecutively to provided health care and 30-day patient holding capability for the 20,000-strong United Nations forces. Nearly 46,000 outpatient cases were treated, more than 2,000 patients admitted, and more than 1,200 surgeries performed.

25th Division Military Police in Haiti as part of the multinational force,1994As a result of instability in Haiti in September 1994, a multinational force deployed to reestablish order. Army nurses supported the mission during several field hospital rotations in Haiti as well as refugee care in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, and Suriname. They were confronted with a populace that is medically underserved. Untreated and advanced infections, broken bones that did not heal properly, and maggots in dirty wounds required their flexibility, creativity, and expert skills. The traditional use of field-expedient skills achieved many positive patient outcomes.

 Left from top:
  109th Evacuation Hospital, Alabama National Guard
  Mohaamed Nur, patient on intermediate care ward of the
      86th Evacuation Hospital, Somalia. January-May, 1993
  Military Police of the 25th Division, part of the multi-
     national force deployed to Haiti in 1994
 Right from top:
  Assembling the 86th Evacuation Hospital DEPMEDS modules
  86th Evac at King Khalid Military City, Saudi Arabia
  Operation Restore Hope, Somalia, January-May 1993, 86th
       Evac Lt. Patricia Hall with a wounded Somali boy
Text by ANCA Historian COL (Ret.) C. J. Moore; Photos courtesy of the Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage