Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Monica Benning, who took care of patients as a nurse during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Monica Benning, who took care of patients as a nurse during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941.

In 1914, Monica Benning was born to her parents, August and Mary Anne Conter. Her father was a doctor, and she chose to follow in her father’s footsteps by becoming a nurse. She attended nursing school at Providence Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. After graduating in 1939, she landed a nursing job in Baltimore, Maryland. After one of her colleagues told her about military nursing, Benning joined the Army Nurse Corps.

In 1940, she commissioned as a second lieutenant and served at National Naval Medical Center, now known as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland, until mid-1941. That summer, Benning served in Hawaii, and she was ultimately went to the base hospital at Hickam Field near Pearl Harbor.

Less than a month after arriving at Hickam Field, the sounds of anti-aircraft fire and explosions filled the skies above Oahu on Sunday, Dec. 7. She was one of six nurses assigned to Hickam’s 30-bed hospital, which quickly reached capacity as wounded soldiers and civilians were rushed to the nearest hospitals.

Benning reflected that “it was chaos, complete chaos” as she tended to those she could while doing her best to make a record of those who died.

Things quickly got out of hand, but Benning persevered along with civilian support.

“They were bringing people on doors and in chairs,” said Benning. “The ambulances just kept coming and going.”

The following Wednesday, Benning was able to see a gentleman she went on a date with before the attack. Barney Benning was happy to know that she had made it through the battle and vice versa. The two eventually married on Aug. 20, 1942.

After the war, Benning left the service to care for the couple’s newborn child, and her husband Barney left the service in 1946. The couple returned several times to Pearl Harbor to visit and speak at events.

Benning passed away on July 22, 2012, at the age of 97.

We honor her service.


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? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

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 http://www.loc.gov/vets/.


Contributors

Writers: Katherine Berman and Jarrett Dodson

Editors: Amra Kandic and Cassidy Reid

Fact checker: Kinsley Ballas

Graphic artist: Katie Rahill

By VAntage Point Contributor

Share this story

Published on Jan. 1, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.5 min.

Views to date: 415

2 Comments

  1. Senior Veterans Care Network January 3, 2022 at 9:35 am

    We honor the service of Monica Benning.

  2. El Toro Dave January 1, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    May the service of Lieutenant Monica Bennington be honored by all who hear of her selfless service in and out of the military. Nurses run the show.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Stephen W. Pless, who served in the Vietnam War and is the only Marine aviator to be awarded a Medal of Honor during the war.

  • Alan Shepard served in the Navy aboard a destroyer and as a test pilot. He was a member of the NASA Mercury Seven and became the first American to travel into space.

  • Army Veteran Charles W. Whittlesey is a Medal of Honor Recipient and is today’s Veteran of the Day.