Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Nurse Corps Veteran Helen Smith Wagner. Helen served in World War II.

Helen grew up in Towanda, Pennsylvania and graduated from Towanda High School in 1939. By 1942, Helen had graduated from the Robert Packer Hospital School of Nursing and was impassioned to serve her country. Following her graduation, Helen enlisted in the Army and served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1943 to 1945.

After initial training took her to Baltimore, California and on to Australia, Helen was assigned to the 27th General Hospital in the jungles of New Guinea.

Helen lived and worked in jungle-like conditions. She remembers the large swamps and monsoon rains, the high temperatures and high humidity. Dangerous conditions, coupled with debilitating diseases, made life in the jungle difficult for Americans working there. Nevertheless, caring for and helping service men heal from the wounds of battle was something Helen did very well. “We took care of them all, the flyers, the sailors, the marines…all of them.”

Helen was on her way back to the U.S. Aug. 14, 1945, when Japan surrendered to the Allies, marking the end of World War II.

After serving her country in WWII, Helen was discharged and continued to work as a nurse until her retirement. She worked at hospitals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Currently a resident at the Guthrie Towanda Memorial Hospital Skilled Nursing Unit, Helen will soon celebrate her 96th birthday.

Thank you for your service, Helen!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much of the information as you can put together with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating for how to create the best submission.


Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.

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