103-year-old WWII nurse a 'trailblazer' for women veterans

After her brother survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, Irene Hosking joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1942 and would become one of the first female nurses to give anesthesia to injured soldiers in the Pacific Theater.

When Hosking came home and was denied entry into the VFW in 1946, she persisted in her efforts to join and, in 1995, became the first female commander of VFW Post 4005 in Corunna, Michigan.

Hosking, who recently turned 103 years old, continues going strong - serving as the Post 4005 chaplain today. 

"Irene is a trailblazer for women veterans and a hero for what she did for our country," said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams, who talked with Hosking on her April 20 birthday. "She bravely answered the call to serve and because of her 'can't stop, won't stop' attitude, she is still making a difference in the lives of Michigan veterans."

As the nation recognizes National Nurses Week, Hosking highlights the selfless service of military nurses who serve not only their patients, but their country as well. National Nurses Week is celebrated every year from May 6-12.

Hosking became a nurse in 1940 and would find herself working in a field hospital in Australia just two years later during World War II. She still vividly recalls many instances of limb amputations among her patients while working under the guidance of anesthesiologist Malcolm Hawk, who trained her to give anesthetics.

Hosking regards her time spent in the Army as the best years of her life. When she sees women today serving in the military, Hosking says she'd like to be right there alongside them - and that she'd sign up all over again to serve her country.

It's that dedication to service that inspires other women veterans such as Director Adams, who earlier this year was named a "Women Veterans Trailblazer" by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"I wouldn't have been able to join the Army in 1998 without bold women like Irene who went before me," said Director Adams. "I am truly thankful for Irene's bravery and service to this country."