Laura Mae Cobb trained as a nurse at the Wesley Hospital in Wichita from 1915 to 1918 and joined the United States Navy Nurse Corps soon afterwards. Following a brief time in Manila during World War I, she returned home to work in civilian hospitals. In 1924, she rejoined the Navy and spent the 1920s and 1930s at naval hospitals across the United States. When rumors of another war began to circulate, she volunteered to go overseas.
In 1941, Cobb was chief nurse at Canacao Naval Hospital in Manila. The Japanese attacked on Dec. 10, 1941. When the United States military surrendered one month later, she was taken prisoner and transferred to Santo Tomas Internment Camp where she was named superintendent. Later, she moved and helped establish Los Baños internment camp where she treated civilians and children and administered care to internees. Cobb remained at Los Baños until the United States Airborne and Filipino guerilla forces liberated the camp Feb. 23, 1945.
She retired from the Navy in 1947 as lieutenant commander. She was one of the Angels of Bataan.
For her service, she received a Bronze Star Medal with a gold star in lieu of a second Bronze Star Medal, a Defense of the Philippines Ribbon, a Distinguished Army Unit Citation and an Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with two stars.
Cobb passed Sept. 27, 1981.
We honor her service.
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Veterans History Project
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