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"That night changed my life forever." (Video interview, 12:45)

   Linda Schwartz
Collection image
Linda Schwartz [detail from video]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Air Force
Unit: Nurse Corps; 2nd Aeromedical Evacuation Group; 69th Air Evacuation Squadron
Service Location: Sheppard Field, Texas; Brooks Air Force Base, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Japan; Plattsburg Air Force Base, New York; Germany; McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey
Rank: Major
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Enlisting in the Air Force in 1967, Major Linda Schwartz set her sights on becoming a flight nurse--a goal which she eventually achieved. Before treating patients at 30,000 feet, however, she cared for them at Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan during the Vietnam War. Observing the resolve and selflessness of the wounded servicemen and women that she treated at Tachikawa solidified her commitment to military nursing. After sustaining service-related injuries during an accident aboard a plane, she was medically retired at the rank of major, and subsequently began a career with the VA, advocating for women veterans and others needing assistance.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (48 min.)
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»Healing with Honor: Medical Personnel
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Deciding to join the Air Force in hopes of becoming a flight nurse. (01:03) Experiences during basic training at Sheppard Air Force Base. (02:01) Transfer to Tachikawa Air Force Base; typical day at the hospital there; treating casualties of the battle of Hamburger Hill; being impressed by the good attitude of her patients. (04:44)
Coping with the stress of treating combat casualties; nurses were expected to be stoic and control their emotions. (02:30) Responsibilities as a flight nurse; dramatic mission transporting American civilian casualties after a bus accident in Spain. (03:53) Humorous incident during her service in Japan in which her colleagues pretended to treat a Christmas tree as a patient. (01:27)
Getting support from the VA after being wounded during military service; becoming a leader within the VA. (01:30) Common bonds among veterans; being able to relate to her constituents, because she has experienced many of the same things that they have. (01:07) 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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