Women in the Military
A Perspective from Vietnam
By Lt. Col. Janis Nark, Huts For Vets
The first military women to arrive in Vietnam were nurses. It was 1956. As the American presence in Southeast Asia grew, so too did the number of young women who served. In all, nearly 8,000 military women, and thousands more who served in the civilian sector, were there.
About 83% of us were nurses. The rest held positions in special services, supply, air traffic control, cartography, the USO, American Red Cross and many other jobs in support of our combat troops.
We were all fairly young when we volunteered to serve our country, and many of us were woefully naïve in believing our recruiters’ promises; mainly that we could be stationed anywhere in the world that we wanted, and that Vietnam was “strictly voluntary.”