BOSTON — July 1 would annually be proclaimed United States Cadet Nurse Corps Day in Massachusetts under a bill the state Senate passed last week.

Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who sponsored the bill, said student nurses in the cadet corps allowed nursing services to continue in American hospitals while nurses were sent abroad for service during World War II. The corps was established in 1943 and existed until 1948.

“It was administered by the United States Public Health Services, involving 180,000 nurses,” Tarr said on the Senate floor. “They were an average age of 19 and brought in at a time of war so that nursing service could continue in the country while nurses were being drawn into service abroad in World War II.

“In 1945, the surgeon general testified before a House committee and indicated the corps had been highly successful, with students giving 80 percent of nursing in their hospitals,” he continued. “The corps prevented a collapse of nursing in American hospitals.”

Tarr said he also wants to display a plaque in the Statehouse honoring the corps, but details for doing so need to be worked out.

Last year, Tarr, state Rep. Brad Hill and local officials publicly recognized Hamilton resident Mary Maione, 94, who served as a nurse in the corps during World War II but never received any veterans benefits for her service.

Material from Katie Lannan of the State House News Service was used in this story.