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Vietnam Southeast Asia
Over 58,000 Americans killed, 200,000 wounded and Women Were There!
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.
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