Fort Chastity, Vietnam, 1969
Bernadette J. Harrod, RN, author
It was 1969 and the war in Vietnam was at its height. At the time, author Bernadette J. Harrod was twenty-four years old and a full-fledged operating room nurse. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy, she volunteered her services and became a member of the Army Nurse Corps stationed on the front lines at Phu Bai, Vietnam, a forward base camp in the demilitarized zone. In Fort Chastity, Vietnam, 1969, she shares her story of what nursing was like in a combat zone, standing covered in mud and blood, sweat and tears, serving her country in a war-torn jungle far away from home. Harrod describes working twelve-hour days, six days a week—more when there was a push—operating on wounded soldiers who had suffered massive injuries. Saving life and limb was the prime mission of the operating room nurses. Harrod tells how she was ill prepared to handle the horror all around her. After fourteen months in a blood bath of hell, now considered a combat veteran, she was sent home. With poetry and letters written to home included, Fort Chastity, Vietnam, 1969, offers a firsthand look at the war and its aftereffects from the perspective of both a nurse and a woman caught in the trauma of war.