Femmes et guerres

American Women’s Participation in the Viet Nam Conflict

On the Mall in the U.S. Capital of Washington, D.C. there is a statue dedi­­ca­­ted to the 10,000 American women, civi­­lian and mili­­tary, who served in Viet Nam. Over 6,000 women served as nurses or medi­­cal spe­­cia­­lists in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Over 500 women served as admi­­nis­­tra­­tive spe­­cia­­lists with the Army and the Marines. In addi­­tion untold num­­bers of Red Cross, Special Services, Civil Service and Recreation Specialists served in Viet Nam in sup­­port of American sol­­diers. Eight mili­­tary women and 55 civi­­lian women lost their lives while ser­­ving in Viet Nam.

While these num­­bers are very small in rela­­tion to the Vietnamese women’s contri­­bu­­tions, they did pro­­vide the basis for a major expan­­sion of women into the American mili­­tary after Viet Nam.

Many of the women vete­­rans who retur­­ned from Viet Nam suf­­fe­­red from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because they lacked role models, out­­lets to dis­­cuss their mili­­tary ser­­vice with other vete­­rans, and in the case of nurses and medi­­cal per­­son­­nel, many of them remai­­ned in the medi­­cal pro­­fes­­sions which served as a remin­­der of their combat expe­­rien­­ces, per­­for­­ming triage and dea­­ling with deaths and inju­­ries. The contri­­bu­­tion of American women vete­­rans, both mili­­tary and civi­­lian, is little noted or unders­­tood but a fit­­ting sub­­ject for fur­­ther study. And their contri­­bu­­tions far excee­­ded their actual num­­bers of par­­ti­­ci­­pants.

The paper will include a biblio­­gra­­phy of twenty of the best refe­­ren­­ces, book and film, for fur­­ther study.