Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Nurse Corps Veteran Rae Mary Leff. Rae served during the Vietnam War for one year.

On Aug. 18, 1929, Rae was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was a nurse in Pennsylvania until she felt inspired to join the Navy as a nurse. She enlisted voluntarily because of her deep patriotism and desire to serve her country and tend to the military men and women in service. As a nurse, she worked in both the surgical ward and neuro-surgical ward.

In an interview for the Veterans History Project, Rae reminisces on her days in the Navy Nurse Corps aboard the USS Repose (AH-16) during the Vietnam War. Rae was a nurse on the hospital ship. Some of the locations that the ship visited included Guam, Midway Island, Vietnam, Japan and St. Augustine, New York (the ship’s home base). Although the ship visited many locations across the globe, Rae points out that the ship spent long periods of time out at sea that ranged from 40 to 60 days.

Rae says that the experience was heartbreaking at times, but ultimately very rewarding. She felt a great deal of pride and that she was a real part of the military. In her interview, she states that her and her fellow nurses aboard the ship are still the very best of friends years later.

Thank you for your service, Rae!

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at

Share this story

Published on Mar. 11, 2018

Estimated reading time is 1.4 min.

Views to date: 91

More Stories

  • John Thurman served in the Marine Corps during World War II, fought on Iwo Jima and saw the famous flag raising on Mount Suribachi.

  • Edward Carter Jr. was one of the few African Americans to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during World War II.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Spiros “Steve” Pisanos, a Greek national who flew for the British Royal Air Force as an American pilot during World War II.