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“I don’t recall the names, I don’t recall the faces, but I know they’re on that wall in Washington, DC, and they have a large part of my heart with them, every single one of them.” (Video interview, 17:42)

   Rae Mary Leff
Collection image
Rae Leff, Ward C-6, USS Repose (AH-16), Vietnam [11/25/1966]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Navy Nurse Corps
Unit: Navy Nurse Corp
Rank: Captain
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Serving as a nurse aboard the hospital ship USS Repose, anchored off the coast of Vietnam, Captain Rae Mary Leff treated casualties airlifted from the field by helicopter. While she was not in harm’s way, she witnessed the effects of combat through the patients she served. In her oral history interview, she discusses the close bonds that formed between doctors, nurses, corpsmen, and patients on the ship. The photographs in her collection provide a visual narrative of her “hectic and heartbreaking” time aboard the Repose, as well as some of her most memorable patients.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (21 min.)
»Photo Album  (20 photos)
 Other Materials
»View List (2 items)
More like this
»Personal Snapshots: Picturing the Vietnam War
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Hectic pace of work; camaraderie amongst doctors and nurses; dealing with the death of a patient. (00:57) Staying in touch; food aboard ship; stress of work. (00:59) Letters from patients; letter from 19 year old patient with shrapnel wounds; crying for the first time after six months aboard ship. (00:30)
Fire aboard USS Forrestal; 33 burn cases, 77 dead bodies; no memory of any of the patients. (00:56) Stayed with a friend in Utah after coming back from Vietnam; feelings of trauma and survivor’s guilt; difficulty in homecoming. (00:24) Particularly memorable patient named Robert Monaghan; bonds between patients, nurses, doctors, and corpsmen. (01:13)
 Other Materials (2 items)
Postcard of the U.S.S. Repose in Vietnam [1966-1970] Postcard of the U.S.S. Repose in Vietnam [1966-1970] 

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