For Women’s History Month this article honors women who courageously served and some giving their lives in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It has been revealed that there is little official documentation about women in the Vietnam War. It is estimated that over 11,000 U.S. military women were stationed in Vietnam. The women of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation took on the task of documenting their own history.
It was found that most of the women volunteered to serve in Vietnam. Ninety percent of those women served as military nurses, physicians, air traffic controllers, intelligence officers, clerks and many other positions. Women represented the U.S. Women’s Army Corps, U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marines and the Army Medical Specialist Corps.
In addition to the military women, an unknown number of civilian female volunteers served valiantly and some giving their lives in Vietnam during the conflict. Women volunteers were from the Red Cross, Donut Dollies, United Service Organizations (USO), Catholic Relief Services and other humanitarian organizations. Other female volunteers in Vietnam were correspondents from various news organizations.
The participation of the U.S. in Vietnam began in 1950 when they supplied a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG). This group provided aid, strategy and training for Vietnam soldiers. Military women served in Vietnam as early as 1956 to train South Vietnam women in nursing skills. By 1962 a large number of women were serving in Vietnam to 1973 when the last Army nurse left Vietnam. Some died from accidents, illness, murder, plane and helicopter crashes, rocket attacks, mines, bombings and still others were captured and burned and tortured to death. Some are still listed as Prisoner of War (POW). We pay tribute to all of the women who served and died in the Vietnam War. Listed below are only some to represent the many.
MILITARY - U.S. Army- Lt. Col. Annie Ruth Graham, 1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane, 2nd Lt. Carol Ann Elizabeth Drazba, 2nd Lt. Elizabeth Ann Jones, Capt. Eleanor Grace Alexander, 1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski, 2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan, Army Special Services- Rosalyn Muskat, Dorothy Phillips. U.S. Air Force- Capt. Mary Therese Klinker. U. S. Navy OICC (Officer in Charge of Construction) Regina Williams.
CIVILIAN- American Red Cross- Hannah E. Crews, Virginia E. Kirsch, Lucinda J. Richter, Catholic Relief Services- Gloria Redlin, Central Intelligence Agency- Barbara Robbins, Betty Gebhardt, United States Agency for International Development- Marilyn L. Allen, Dr. Breen Ratterman, Journalists- Georgette Chapelle, Philippa Schuyler, Missionaries- Carolyn Griswald, Ruth Thompson, Ruth Wilting, Betty Ann Olsen, Eleanor Ardel Vietti, Janie A. Makil, Evelyn Anderson, Beatrice Kosin, Operation Babylift- Barbara Adams, Clara Bayot, Nova Bell, Arleta Bertwell, Helen Blackburn, Ann Bottorff, Celeste Brown, Vivienne Clark, Juanita Creel, Mary Ann Crouch, Dorothy Curtiss, Twila Donelson, Helen Drye, Theresa Drye (child), Mary Lyn Eichen, Elizabeth Fugino, Ruthanne Gasper, Beverly Herbert, Penelope Hindman, Dorothy Howard, Barbara Maier, Rebecca Martin, Martha Middlebrook, Katherine Moore, Marta Moschkin, Marion Polgrean, June Poulton, Joan Pray, Sayonna Randall, Anne Reynolds, Marjorie Snow, Laurie Stark (teacher), Barbara Stout, Doris Jean Watkins and Sharon Wesley.
Special tribute to all of my female family and friends who valiantly served in the military during the many U.S. wars from the Revolutionary to the present day, including my close deceased friend, Margaret Key McFarland.