Monday, October 2, 2006

For My Aunt...A Thank You to an Army Nurse Corps Vietnam Veteran

Not too long ago, it occurred to me that I had never asked my aunt Lynn what unit she served with in Vietnam. So the other night, when my daughter and I stopped by to see her, I asked her. What followed was probably the longest conversation I have ever had with my aunt regarding her service, and it was particularly meaningful to me that my daughter was present. This is a part of her heritage and history that I want her to know,remember, and honor.

My aunt served in the Army Nurse Corps, and was sent to Vietnam at the age of 22. She served from August of 1967 to August of 1968,turning 23 while she was in Vietnam. She was a Captain.

She served with the 91rst Evac., at a little place called Phu Hiep, right outside of Tuy Hoa .

I have been doing research since that night we talked with her, to try and find out more about where she served, and the unit she served with...and just about nurses in Vietnam in general.

On this page Click here: Medical Units During the Vietnam War I found out more about the 91rst Evac.

The 91st Evacuation Hospital was reactivated in March 1963 in Fort Polk Louisiana, and was alerted for overseas movement in March 1966. The unit departed Fort Polk on November 22,1966, embarking on the USNG Gen John Pope at Oakland, California and arrived at Vung Ro Bay on December 14, 1966. The unit was moved by convoy to Tuy Hoa; after 85 days of construction, the facilities were opened on March 15, 1967 with 100 beds. By June, the facility was expanded to 300 beds. LTC Annie Ruth Graham was Chief Nurse at the 91st Evac in Tuy Hoa in 1968 when she suffered a CVA. She died after being evacuated to Japan. On July 15th 1969, the 91st Evacuation Hospital was relocated in Chu Lai, taking over the facilities previously occupied by the 312th Evacuation Hospital. The 91st Evacuation Hospital remained on station until November 1971, shortly after suffering major facility damage resulting from a typhoon with winds of 134 knots. The Officer's Club was totally destroyed by gusting winds of 180knots and the nearby Mess hall also sustained major structural damage.

Here is a map that shows I think a little better Tuy Hoa and Phu Hiep

Click here: Chart of II Corps TAOR

From the Army Nurse Corps history page comes this paragraph about nursing in the Vietnam war

Mobility and increased patient acuity characterized service in Vietnam. Evacuation by helicopter brought wounded to medical units located within minutes flying time of the battlefield. The UH-1H helicopter ambulance, nicknamed the "Dustoff," not only transported patient from battle locations fifty percent faster than in Korea, but also provided triage and resuscitative services for casualties. Trauma care specialization, as well as shock/trauma units, developed from this experience. The "chain of evacuation" from Vietnam was extraordinary. A soldier could be wounded on the battlefield one day and two days later be in an Army hospital in the continental United States. In Vietnam, of the nearly 5,000 Army Nurses who served in forty-four hospitals, eight women made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.

And this page seemed to have the most information I could find about military nurses in Vietnam.

Click here: All About Military Nurses in Vietnam

including an "In Memoriam" link to this page

Click here: Women Who Died in the Vietnam War

Years ago. my aunt and I had both read a book by an Army nurse who served in Vietnam
and I was saddened while doing this research to learn she had passed away in 2002
Since I'm a nurse, and since my aunt did serve....I found all of this very interesting and wanted toshare it with you.
I also came across some other books I'd like to check out, and am passing the titles on in case anyone else would like to check them out, also.
I'm sure there are more books out there, and if anyone wants to pass titles on they recommend, please feel free.
But, mostly, I am writing this post today because I want to say what I think is a long overdue 'THANK YOU' my aunt, and to all the women like her, who served our country during an unpopular war, and I think in many cases still have not gotten the recognition they deserve.
As I write in so many letters that I send for Soldiers Angels to the troops today?
I wanted to say to all these veteran nurses......"You are not forgotten."
UPDATE June 2007 I just wanted to add that, if you are a veteran who thinks you may have served with my aunt, or perhaps a Vietnam veteran who thinks you may have been through the 91st Evac during the time that she served? Please,please feel free to email me! at

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