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After one of the most futile conflicts in the history of war, scorned by flag burners and shunned by citizens, G.I's returned to find respect for our troops hitting an all time low. The reaction of the American people to our military was despicable. It has taken years for many servicemen and women to get over it- and some have not.
What is truly unconscionable in the annals of American military history is the fact that little or no data exists on the women who served and, yes, were injured or killed, in Southeast Asia during the Viet Nam era.
Accurate records on how many women were there, what decorations they earned, where they served - and most important - what after effects they have suffered - and continue to suffer - are nonexistent.
However from anecdotal reports, letters, from books by those who were there, from research papers by military historians, and from the excellent text "Women in the Military - An Unfinished Revolution", by Major General Jeanne Holm, USAF (Ret), we can glean the following overview.
Over five hundred WACs were stationed in Vietnam.
Women Marines were in Vietnam.
Over six hundred Women in the Air Force were there.
Army, Navy and Air Force Nurses and Medical Specialists numbered over six thousand.
Untold numbers of Red Cross, Special Services, Civil Service and countless other women were there.
Da Nang, South Vietnam, 1968..United States Navy nurse Lieutenant Commander Joan Brouilette checks the condition of Pfc. Charles Smith as
she makes her daily rounds of the intensive care ward at the United States Naval Support Activity Hospital.
Women served in Vietnam in many support staff assignments, in hospitals, crewed on medical evacuation flights, with MASH Units, hospital ships, operations groups, information offices, service clubs, headquarters offices, and numerous other clerical, medical, intelligence and personnel positions.
There were women officers and enisted women; there were youngsters in their early twenties with barely two years in service and career women over forty.
Women suffered the same hardships as the men in many cases and were often in the line of fire from rockets and mortars, particularly during the Tet offensive with the Viet Cong attacks on Saigon.
Vietnam. 1st Lt. Elaine H. Niggemann changes a surgical dressing at the 24th Evacuation Hospital.
The accomplishments of the military nurses and their dedication in saving innumerable lives has barely been recorded for future generations.
Yet women were there - they sloshed through the same mud and blood as the men, witnessed the same horrors of war, and suffered the same ignominous treatment and indignities upon their return to the country that sent them there.
Almost ten thousand women were there.
Women were awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star,
Commendation Medals, and Unit Citations.
And yes there were casualties.
For a list of not only the women who gaves their lives in Vietnam but the start of a complete women's casualty list see: They Gave Their Lives
Salon.com has featured an interesting story about female Vietnam Veterans, entitled "Unarmed and Under Fire: An Oral History of Female Vietnam Vets."
Women in Vietnam
The Vietnam Womens Memorial Project's new website is at: VWMP
One of the finest and most inclusive sites on the Vietnam War
- a wealth of information provided by Spartacus in the United Kingdom.
Outstanding Site full of information
about women who served in Vietnam:
Don't miss this great site from Discovery and The Learning Channel:
Women in War
New place for nurses who served in Vietnam. Nurses Haven
This is a closed list for Army, Navy, Air Force and civilian nurses who served in Viet Nam during the War to come together to talk and heal.
For more information: mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Army Mom's Tribute site: Army Mom
And let us not forget that
Americans are still missing in Southeast Asia.
For extensive information please visit:
Bring Them Home
The Vietnam Women's Memorial pictured above completed the circle of healing at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The names of the eight military women who died in Vietnam are inscribed on the Wall, but the statue of the Three Servicemen did not reflect the women who served. Sustained by her respect for these women, one former Army nurse, Diane Carlson Evans, founded the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project in 1984. Many of the 250,000 women veterans worked in concert with her and others to place the Vietnam Women's Memorial near the Wall. Congress authorized the Vietnam Women's Memorial in 1988 to honor the "women of the armed forces of the United States who served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era." Sculptor Glenna Goodacre of Santa Fe, New Mexico was selected to design the bronze statue that depicts three women, one of whom is tending to a wounded soldier. The statue is six feet, eight inches tall and weighs one ton. Planted around the statue's plaza are eight trees to commemorate each of the women who died in Vietnam. The Vietnam Women's Memorial was dedicated in 1993, as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (source: National Park Service)
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