Second Lieutenant Carmen Maria Lozano Dumler, RN, (September 18, 1921 - March 29, 2015), was one of the first Puerto Rican women to become a United States Army officer.
Lozano was born and raised in San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico. She lived in a coffee plantation which was managed by her father. She received her primary and secondary education in San Juan and after graduating from high school, she enrolled in the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing where she became a certified nurse in 1943.
By this time the United States had entered World War II and therefore needed to boost its military capabilities; as a result, the Army ordered Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment to full war strength and drafted many Puerto Ricans — even those whose knowledge of English was minimal. The Army recognized the need for bilingual nurses based on a letter to the surgeon general in New York to help the soldiers that returned with wounds. In 1944, the Army sent three WAC (Women's Army Corps) recruiters to the island to organize a unit of 200 WACs. Over 1,500 women responded to the call and applied. Lozano applied to become an Army nurse and on Aug. 21, 1944, became one of thirteen women to be selected.
On August 21, 1944, she was sworn in as a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to the Rodriguez (161st) General Hospital (named after Major Fernando E. Rodriguez Vargas) at Fort Brooke, Puerto Rico in San Juan, where she continued to receive further training. Upon completing her advanced training, she was sent to Camp Tortugero where she also assisted as an interpreter whenever needed. In 1945, Lozano was reassigned to the 359th Station Hospital of Ft. Read, Trinidad and Tobago, British West Indies, there she attended wounded soldiers who had returned from Normandy, France.
While in Trinidad she decided that she would like to become a doctor after the war and took correspondence courses from Louisiana State University. She met Lieutenant Joseph Dumler in Trinidad and they were married in the Base Chapel.
After the war, Lozano returned to civilian life and moved to Baltimore, Maryland with her husband. They later moved to Hoffman Estates where she hoped to continue her education in medicine. She enrolled as a part-time student at the University of Maryland but had to put her studies on hold after having her first child. She continued her nursing and counseling career at the Brothers Health System for 20 years until her retirement in 1985. After retiring, the Dumlers lived in Florida for 23 years, renting out four Sunshine State properties they’d bought as investments.
Dumler died March 29, 2015, at Brookdale Senior Living facility in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. She was 93 and had Alzheimer’s disease. Marilla Cushman of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation said:
“She is certainly a pioneer for Puerto Rican women, one of the first 13 to be commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps. Carmen and her 12 cohorts led the way for Puerto Rican women in the Army Nurse Corps.
Among Dumler's awards and decorations are:
Badges: Army Nurse Corps badge