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"These kids, they would watch you when you were changing their dressings. They would watch every movement, every expression on your face. So you just had to gear yourself not to have any expression." (Audio Interview, Part 1, 30:14)

   Helen Eileen Hause
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War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Air Force Nurse Corps
Unit: 4162nd Air Force Hospital, 92nd Tactical Air Command Hospital, 6160th Air Force Hospital, 9th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 820nd Medical Group, 81st Tactical Air Command Hospital
Service Location: Travis Air Force Base, California; Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Wake Island; Tachikawa Air Base, Japan; Plattsburg Air Force Base, New York; RAF Bentwaters, England; Tan Son Nhut, Vietnam; Selfridge Air Force Base, Michigan; Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan; Oscoda, Michigan; Iraklion Air Base, Crete; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana
Rank: Lieutenant
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A year after graduating from nursing school in 1955, Helen Hause joined the Air Force for a 20-year career, much of it as a flight nurse. She logged over 1000 hours in peacetime Japan, flying in unpressurized planes that rarely went above 10,000 feet. After a less pressured tour of duty in England, she was assigned to Vietnam for a year. She prepped wounded men for evacuation in an 85-bed plane, and managed to survive a series of mortar attacks on Ton Son Nhut, her air base. Hause’s homecoming to her home in Detroit in April 1968 was hardly peaceful; the city was in flames in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
Download: audio(1) | 
Download: audio(2) (59 min.)
»Oral History of Helen E. Hause, Lt./Col., USAF, NC/Ret. 1956-1976
 Other Materials
»Biographical information
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Serving as a flight nurse in Japan in the early 1960s; flying in unpressurized aircraft; dealing with a pregnant woman about to deliver. (06:02) After three years in England, going to Vietnam in 1967; had an 85-bed casualty staging flight; the routine of prepping the casualties for the flight; recalling the severity of their wounds is still unnerving years later . (03:04) Nice living conditions when she first got to Vietnam; later moved into simpler accommodations; daily routine took her by the morgue every morning; injured men trying to read her expression when she changed their dressing for a sign of how bad off they were. (02:18)
Her mixed feelings about serving in Vietnam: pride, sadness, terror; she and a temporary roommate surviving a mortar attack of Ton Son Nhut; aftermath of the attack; all medical personnel pitching in. (07:34) Stopping in Japan on her way home to Detroit from Vietnam and learning that Martin Luther King had been assassinated; recalling the Detroit riots from the summer of 1967, when she was on leave for her sister's funeral; changing out of her uniform in the San Francisco airport; staying with a friend in Detroit for two days before her brother could get through to pick her up. (02:04) 

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  October 26, 2011
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