Press Release

Gillibrand, Schumer, Maloney, Velázquez, Nadler, Espaillat Introduce Legislation To Rename Manhattan Va Medical Center After Revolutionary War Hero Margaret Corbin

Mar 27, 2019

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) today introduced legislation to rename the Manhattan Campus of the VA New York Harbor Health Care System after Revolutionary War hero Margaret Corbin. Margaret Corbin fought alongside the Revolutionary Army and became the first woman to be recognized for her military service by the United States. This legislation proposes for the facility to be renamed to the “Margaret Cochran Corbin Campus of the New York Harbor Health Care System.”

“Margaret Corbin was a Revolutionary War hero who fought for our nation’s independence and helped pave the way for countless other women to serve and protect our country,” said Senator Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee. “She was a heroic leader who became the first woman to be officially recognized by our country for her military service. Although women have fought for our nation since its founding, women service members rarely receive the same recognition as their male counterparts. Renaming the Manhattan VA Medical Center after Margaret Corbin is a small but significant step towards honoring the sacrifices women have made for our country.”

“Margaret Corbin was a unique trailblazer of her time who went above and beyond in her service to our country as it was fighting for its independence. She fearlessly joined in the Battle of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island, firing a cannon, sustaining serious injuries and becoming a prisoner of war,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “Mrs. Corbin’s heroic and revolutionary acts, serving our country as the first female in a soldier’s role, deserve to be recognized and that’s why I am proud to support legislation that renames the Manhattan VA in honor of this brave, selfless and revolutionary war heroine.”

“As Women’s History Month draws to a close, I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation to recognize the great American Revolutionary War hero Margaret Corbin by renaming the Manhattan VA in her honor,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The first woman recognized for her actions fighting for our country and the first to receive a veteran’s pension, Margaret embodies the heroism of American soldiers who are wounded in battle, as well as their struggles, often lifelong, resulting from their injuries and their time on the battlefield. It is more than fitting to give Margaret Corbin the honor of being the first woman to have a VA hospital named for her.”

“Since our country’s founding, women have played an instrumental role in our nation’s armed services, yet often without the recognition they deserve. Not only did Margaret Corbin make history as the first woman recognized for fighting in our nation’s military, she, like so many other female servicemembers, put her life on the line while defending her country,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “I am proud to honor Ms. Corbin’s legacy by supporting legislation spearheaded by Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Maloney to rename the Manhattan Campus of the VA New York Harbor Health Care System after Margaret Corbin. Today, women make up the fastest growing group of veterans and we must recognize the unique challenges they face and the sacrifices they make in defense of all our liberties.”

“Since our nation’s founding, women have played an essential role in our armed forces,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “I proudly support the renaming of the Manhattan VA Medical Center after Margaret Corbin, the first woman to be recognized for fighting in our nation’s military, whose legacy of service endures in the tradition of empowering all veterans, regardless of gender, to be welcome and honored at the VA.”

“The heroism of Margaret Corbin and her legacy in our nation’s history deserves to be memorialized and venerated,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “Margaret Corbin was a pioneer in our nation’s military, and I am proud to join my New York colleagues to rename the Manhattan VA as the ‘Margaret Corbin VA Medical Center,’ the first VA hospital to be named after a female veteran, as a testament to her unwavering bravery and inimitable belief that we all have a duty to stand up for our freedoms. “ 

“We are grateful to Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer, Congresswoman Maloney, and our Manhattan Congressional delegation for championing legislation to ensure Margaret Corbin and all women who have served and sacrificed in America’s military since 1776 receive the recognition they are due. We hope to never again hear from women veterans that they’re treated as if they don’t belong when they walk into a VA medical center for the healthcare they’ve rightfully earned,” said Kristen Rouse, U.S. Army Veteran and Founding Director of the NYC Veterans Alliance. “Margaret Corbin’s service and sacrifice in battle are exemplary of the grit, determination, and selflessness of the finest servicemembers throughout our nation’s history–as well as a reminder that women veterans must always have a place to seek high-quality healthcare. New Yorkers will be able to take great pride in leading the nation in having the first VA hospital named for a woman veteran right here in Manhattan–and for Margaret Corbin, who so boldly fought for our freedom in 1776.”

Margaret Corbin was born in Pennsylvania on November 12, 1751. She accompanied her husband when he joined the Revolutionary Army and supported the Army’s efforts by caring for injured and sick soldiers, cooking, cleaning, and helping her husband load his cannon. On November 16, 1776, Corbin took her husband’s place at the battle of Fort Washington in Manhattan after he was fatally wounded, where she was then shot by enemy fire and severely wounded. In recognition of her service and injuries, Corbin was awarded a lifelong pension, making her the first woman to receive a pension from the United States through military service. Corbin passed away in 1789 in Highland Falls, New York, and she is honored nearby at West Point as a hero of the Revolutionary War.