Reading about the experiences of these female veterans was so interesting. Regina Schiffman was a member of the Army Nurse Corps during the Korean War. She enjoyed being in the Army and was an operating room nurse Listening to here account of the war was interesting because she referred to Korea as “camping.” She loved being a nurse there, although conditions were primitive, with things like a pot-bellied stove and work-horses used for beds. She said being stationed with a M.A.S.H Unit in Korea and the primitive living made her appreciate the simple things in life. Schiffman was never sent to Vietnam and had an overall good experience (as good as war experiences can get). When asked about what she thought about war she said that “war was hell” but sometimes it was inevitable. She was interesting to read about because she seemed so nonchalant about the war, as if she went in and did what she needed to and left again. She didn’t seem to be too emotional about the war but she also seemed to avoid talking about the types of patients they saw. It was interesting hearing about how she lived in a M.A.S.H Unit.
Rhana Marie Knox Prescott was a Captain of the Army Nurse Corp during Vietnam. She was recruited by the Army straight from nursing school. She decided to join the Army because she needed tuition money, and because she had family and friends who were in the military; it was somewhat of a family tradition to be in the army. She thought that she would do her part by joining. She chose the Army Nurse Corps specifically because they guaranteed her placement in Vietnam (which is where she wanted to be) and it would be the best place to use her skills. When she joined, i thought it was interesting how her training was similar to the training for the men. The women learned how to shoot guns and were tuaght how to deal with situation such as insurgents, etc. Instead of first being sent to Vietnam, she was sent to Korea, which she called “amazing.” She was continually trying to be transferred to Vietnam and her 3rd request was granted. On the way there, she was the only female on board. When she eventually went to Vietnam, it was an “eye-opening” experience for her. She recalls being shot at just as she was getting off the plane in Vietnam. Being in the operating room was even more of an experience. Prescott says she remembers patients who “didn’t even look human” with their faces and bodies deformed. I could not believe the conditions of the work environment. Even Prescott still sounded as if she was in disbelief about the hospitals. The hospitals were tents with no air conditioning. They never had enough supplies and the supplies were far from being sterile. I think it is amazing that even after seeing what she saw, she still remained and worked hard at doing her job and making a difference.
Darlene Iskra was one of the first female divers for the US Navy during the Persian Gulf War. Iskra joined the Navy at 27 after divorcing her husband. She said she wanted to try something new. She was also the first female commander of a ship, which I think is really impressive! She remembers that while she was training in dive school, her instructors were harsh on her because she was a female. I found that interesting because she said that she never encountered any problems with her fellow divers, who were mostly men. When she was first deployed, she was sent to the Suaze Canal to monitor for mines during war. For 9 months, she was the only woman on the ship. I think that is amazing because it must have been hard at first for Iskra, but she overcame. I found it interesting that she had no problems with her fellow sailors and subordinates. She had more problems with her superiors, who were mostly men. She said it felt like they were waiting for her to fail and every mistake she made was over analyzed, probably because she was a woman. Unfortunately this never really got better, but Iskra was able to command her ship just as well as any man could. I think she made a difference for women in the military by becoming the 1st female commander of a ship. She finds it funny the reactions she received about her being a female commander while in charge of the ship.
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