In 1965 W.A.C.s (Women Army Corps) were assigned to Saigon, Vietnam. From 1966 to 1973 about a thousand women were assigned to the WAC Detachment at Long Binh. They served in different positions such as clerical, dental, medical, air traffic control, finance and intelligence. It is estimated that eight to twelve thousand enlisted women served in Vietnam performing various duties.
I spent two years and eight months at the WAC detachment in Long Binh. I was assigned to U.S.A.R.V. in the aviation office as a clerical clerk. My first ride in a helicopter was shortly after I arrived in the country. When we were flying over the Saigon river, the pilot made a sharp turn to the left and I truly thought I was going to fall out....thank God for gravity! I handled all the reports for the M.I.A.s, P.O.W.s and K.I.A.s in Vietnam. I also handled the reports for mechanical issues or aircraft shot down as everything was recorded.
The WACs were never told what to expect in Vietnam and they were never allowed to carry a weapon. Baseball bats were our weapons in the compound! Our compound was protected by two male M.P.s (military police) at the front gate with one who always walked the parameter inside the compound. Most of the time we pulled our own guard duty with baseball bats and whistles. Our work hours varied twelve to sixteen hours a day to include weekends. When we did have time off, most of us would visit the Catholic orphanage caring for homeless children.
When I tell people ( civilians or veterans) about being in Vietnam, they ask me if I was a nurse. I get mad because they don't know there were thousands of enlisted women in Vietnam. I believe it is crucial to recognize the thousands of enlisted women that proudly served our country in Vietnam. The book entitled "Women Vietnam Veteran: Our Untold Story" is about the enlisted women and officers that honorably served. I was honored to be apart of this story. If you are interested in learning more about our organization please contact: Vietnam Women Veterans Inc., 10185 Mammoth Avenue Baton Rouge, LA 70814
The reason for writing this article is to inform men and women that there were enlisted women that served in Vietnam. Women served many various and important roles in the military as they continue our great nation. As a woman who served during the Vietnam War, I am proud to say that I represent thousands of enlisted women who also deserve the recognition.