Our U.S. military women in Vietnam saw all the mutilating horrors of jungle warfare. Americana lost more limbs in Vietnam than in all other wars but due to the nurses efforts, fewer men lost their lives due to the wounds they received. Military nurses worked seven day a week under the most extreme circumstances. Four received the Purple Heart but President Reagan didn’t even mention their names during a 1981 Medal of Honor ceremony at the Pentagon.
Military Women in Vietnam
Military nurses in Vietnam saw and treated the most vicious injuries of a jungle warfare, often under fire. As a tribute to their skills fewer than 2 percent of causalities treated died from their wounds. The war the men fought was brought straight into our living rooms, and that was bad enough, but there was no film footage of the horrors that were hidden in hospitals. Four Navy nurses received the Purple Heart award in Vietnam, yet President Ronald Reagan never mentioned our military women during a 1981 Medal of Honor ceremony at the Pentagon.
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Colin Powell who had been wounded himself, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony in July 1993 for the memorial to the women who served in Vietnam. He said to the nurses, “I didn’t realize how much your sacrifice equaled and even exceeded that of the men. I realized for the first time that for male soldiers, the war comes in intermittent flashes of terror, occasional death, moments of pain, but for women who were there, for the women who helped before the battle and for nurses in particular, the terror, the death and the pain were unrelenting, a constant terrible weight that had to be stoically carried.”
More limbs were amputated in Vietnam than in all other wars combined. Nurses saw such constant carnage that they too, suffered . Joan Furney, a twenty three year old Army nurse, remembered one young soldier that she was determined would live even though he was marked as hopeless to survive. She had been working seven day a week in intensive care for nine months when she gave the young man a transfusion and started to unbandage his head. All the blood she had pumped in suddenly poured out with blood and brains, the whole back of his head were lying in her hands. She put his head back together and secured it in a neat bandage. She goes out and smokes a cigarette and goes back to work. They don’t talk about it, it’s too risky.
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