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“It’s a great honor to serve this country, but I think it’s just as honorable to be able to serve those that have served this country.” (Video interview, 18:01)

   Kenneth Tinsley
Collection image
Kenneth Tinsley [detail from video]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: Army Hospital, Training Center
Service Location: Fort Jackson, South Carolina
Rank: E-5
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Drafted into the Army at the height of the Vietnam War, Kenneth Tinsley set a path for his future and stuck to it. Prior to his time in the service, he had worked in the chemistry department of the Nassau County Medical Center on Long Island, where he grew up. Arriving at basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he faked an illness to gain entrance to the base hospital, and then used a two-minute interview with the pathologist to talk his way into an assignment there. He spent the next two years coordinating critical lab work, such as blood donation for shipment to Vietnam, and teaching soldiers the lab skills they would need to work in field hospitals. After his discharge, he became a physician assistant and spent his career caring for veterans in VA Medical Center hospitals.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (38 min.)
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 Video (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Basic training; maneuvering into an assignment working at the Army hospital. (02:42) Duties included coordinating blood donation for shipment to SE Asia; logistics of drawing over 400 units of blood every weekend. (01:31) After discharge, embarked on a career as a physician assistant and worked at VA Medical Centers; taking care of veterans from all 20th century wars. (01:17)
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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