A Sailor's Story: Lieutenant Commander Laura Mae Cobb

Lieutenant Commander Laura M. Cobb was born on May 11, 1892, in Atchison, Kansas. he was raised in Mulvane, Kansas, graduating from Mulvane High School in 1910.

She entered the nurse's training program at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, graduating in 1918.

Lieutenant  Commander Laura Cobb's first enlistment in the U.S. Navy occurred on July 5, 1918, in response to World War I. She worked in stateside hospitals until July 21, 1921, when she left the Navy, and worked as a civilian nurse until April 1924, when she rejoined the Navy.

Lieutenant Commander Laura Cobb was stationed in Guam during the typhoon of November 1940 that damaged nearly every structure on the island. It is noted in her military file how hard she worked during the disaster.

Transferred to the Philipines in February 1941 as the chief nurse of the Canacao Naval Hospital in Manila. When the Cavite Naval Yards was attacked during World War II, Lieutenant Commander Laura Cobb and 10 other nurses remained behind with the wounded. After the surrender on January 2, 1942, she and the other nurses were sent to the Santo Tomas camp, joined by  U.S. Army nurses after the Battle of Corregidor.

In May 1943, Lieutenant Commander Laura Cobb and the Naval nurses established Los Banos, where they worked twelve-hour shifts and saw over 200 patients each day. Known here as the sacred 11, they, like all other prisoners, survived on a meager diet of 900 calories or less a day. They were liberated during the raid at Los Banos on February 23, 1945.

Lieutenant Commander Laura Cobb retired from the U.S. Navy in 1947, working as a nurse in Los Angeles until 1974, when she retired to Wichita, Kansas, dying on September 21, 1981. She rests at the Maple Grove Cemetery.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

Her online photography gallery can be found at shop.takethebackroads.com


Like my page? Please consider supporting my work by visiting my sponsors, my webshop, or by buying me a cup of coffee!