Billings cadet nurse closely watching U.S. Senate bill that would grant her veteran status

Posted at 3:38 PM, Apr 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-12 18:20:35-04

BILLINGS – A Billings World War II-era nurse is hoping a new proposed bill will grant her veteran’s status and allow her to be buried where she wants.

Laura Koch-Natvig, 93, said Thursday she wants to be buried in the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel, but her role as a cadet nurse during the war didn’t qualify her.

“It would be a blessing to be able to know where I’ll be buried, anyway,” Koch-Natvig said from her Billings South Side apartment.

Laura Koch-Natvig after graduating the United States Cadet Nurse Corps, 1943

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., cosponsored a bill April 3 that would give former United States Cadet Nurse Corps members honorary veteran status.

That bill, called the United States Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act of 2019, would benefit the nurses who filled the labor gap left by nurses called overseas during World War II.

Cadet nurses don’t get the honorary veteran status, something their supporters have been trying to change for about two decades.

Koch-Natvig served in the Cadet Nurse Corps from 1943-1946 at the Bob Wilson Naval Hospital, in San Diego, Calif.

“I knew I was going to be a nurse even before I started school in the first place,” Koch-Natvig said. “That was always from the time I was born I think. I made up my mind that I was going to be a nurse.”

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Reporting by Mitch Lagge for MTN News