The Years Since the War
More than half of the women interviewed for this study chose to remain in the military. This world was a familiar one. Military life offered professional advancement and a solid career. Twelve women stayed on active duty. Fifteen others opted for reserve duty, which required one weekend a month and two weeks a year of active duty. They all received an unexpected benefit from their decision to accept another commission: the military provided a sense of camaraderie the civilian world did not.
Friendships among people in the postwar service never reached the intensity they had in Vietnam, but the Vietnam veterans did share an unspoken bond and acceptance. Veterans wore the two easily recognizable Vietnam service ribbons on their uniforms every day. As one nurse who chose to stay in the Navy Nurse Corps said, "The ribbons always caught your eye and immediately both of you knew you shared a part of each other's past without ever knowing anything else."
This recognition did not mean that veterans would sit down and swap war stories. More likely, they would just nod or ask each other what year and where they were stationed in Vietnam before moving on. Still, these brief contacts helped the nurses