Personal Experiences in Vietnam
Even though they did not fight battles, the nurses saw the need to develop survival skills. Survival was more than living through enemy attacks. It was a need to preserve emotional and personal integrity in a world where people were torn loose from community and home moorings.
Friends helped one another, but each nurse came to realize she had to cope with wartime stresses alone. Friends became involved in their own concerns. Friends went home. Friends became casualties.
Sometimes, men they socialized with, or, in two instances, husbands and men they planned to marry, were killed. Most of the casualties the nurses knew were helicopter pilots who shared their work and off-duty time. Pilots had common ground with nurses. Both groups were young and single and worked with the wounded.
Seven nurses recalled times when a pilot was declared missing. It would be early evening at the officers' club. People arrived after work for the daily happy hour of drinks, talk, and music.