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And so, I was sent to the 27th Surgical Hospital, Chu Lai, South Vietnam as a second lieutenant.
I arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base on a sweltering day in mid-January, 1967. With three fellow incoming nurses, I reported to the 90th Replacement Battalion at Long Binh. We were fed hot food, given the chance to shower, and handed three sets of olive-drab scrubs—our uniform for the duration. Anna, an Army brat like me from Colorado, was sent to Da Nang. Molly, a blonde, cherubic Texan who had always had all the girls giggling throughout basic, was sent to Cu Chi. And I was sent to Chu Lai.
Once I arrived at the 27th Surgical, I spent two weeks in “orientation,” which really meant that I was an observer in surgeries unlike any I had ever seen before. I was permitted to help by changi...
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