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COLONIE VETERANS MEMORIAL

This page was last updated on 1 September 2012.

 

Whenever Britt Small & Festival sang "Angel Flying Too Close" Britt would invite women Veterans to join him on the stage. Although this is Willie Nelson's song I decided to play Britt's version of it here to honor the women we lost in Vietnam.

Killed in Vietnam (1 Nov 1955 - 30 Apr 1975):

1962: 0 US Military women, 1 US Civilian woman

1963: 0 US Military women, 1 US Civilian woman

1964: 0 US Military women, 1 US Civilian woman

1965: 0 US Military women, 2 US Civilian women

1966: 2 US Military women, 1 US Civilian woman

1967: 2 US Military women, 3 US Civilian women

1968: 2 US Military women, 5 US Civilian women

1969: 1 US Military woman, 2 US Civilian women

1970: 0 US Military women, 2 US Civilian women

1971: 0 US Military women, 2 US Civilian women

1972: 0 US Military women, 2 US Civilian women

1975: 1 US Military woman, 38 US Civilian women

Total a/o 1 Jan 09: 8 US Military women, 60 US Civilian women

68 US women killed during Vietnam

The following women died while serving our country in Vietnam.

4 Apr 75:

USAF CPT Mary Therese Klinker, 27, was from  Lafayette, IN. She was a flight nurse assigned to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. The C-5A Galaxy airplane that Mary was on crashed outside Saigon while evacuating Vietnamese orphans. This is better known as the Operation Babylift crash. Mary was posthumously awarded the Airman's Medal for Heroism and the Meritorious Service Medal. Her name is on The Wall at Panel 01W Line 122. Photo donated by illyria.com.

Rita Hawkins sent me a little more info about CPT Klinker that I share with you now--CPT Klinker was a graduate from Saint Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing, were I attended. I always leave a flower for her at a traveling Vietnam Wall.

According to Find A Grave Mary died on 9 April and is buried in a cemetery in Tippecanoe County, IN. This is the first time I've read of the possibility that she survived the crash on 4 Apr and died later.

CIVILIANS--The following women were also killed in the crash of the C5-A Galaxy outside Saigon while transporting Vietnamese children out of the country on 4 April 1975. All but three of the women were working for various U.S. government agencies in Saigon at the time of their deaths:
 

Barbara Adams        Clara Bayot        Nova Bell        Arleta Bertwell        Helen Blackburn

Ann Bottorff        Celeste Brown        Vivienne Clark        Juanita Creel        Mary Ann Crouch

Dorothy Curtiss        Twila Donelson        Helen Drye        Theresa Drye (child)

Mary Lyn Eichen        Elizabeth Fugino        Ruthanne Gasper        Beverly Herbert

Penelope Hindman        Vera Hollibaugh        Dorothy Howard        Barbara Kauvulia

Barbara Maier        Rebecca Martin        Sara Martini        Martha Middlebrook

Katherine Moore        Marta Moschkin        Marion Polgrean        June Poulton        Joan Pray

Sayonna Randall        Anne Reynolds        Marjorie Snow        Laurie Stark (teacher)

Barbara Stout        Doris Jean Watkins        Sharon Wesley

Sharon Wesley had previously worked for both the American Red Cross and Army Special Services. She chose to stay on in Vietnam after the pullout of U.S. military forces in 1973.
 

I know there is a memorial to all the women who died in Vietnam in Angel Fire, NM and another one in California but recently Mike Cunningham sent me a photo he took of a marker at the soon-to-be closed Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX honoring Twila Donelson so I thought I'd share it with you here too! Just click on it to read it better!

       

1972:

Both of these women were members of the Christian Missions of Many Lands. They were captured in Kengkok, Laos on 27 Oct along with Lloyd Oppel and Samuel Mattix. The men were taken north but the women were tied together and burned to death on or about 2 Nov. They were listed as POW-MIA for several years until the house they were kept in was located. Their remains were recovered and returned to their families.

CIVILIAN Evelyn Anderson was from Quincy, MA. Photo donated by Task Force Omega, Inc.

 

 

 

CIVILIAN Beatrice Kosin hailed from Fort Washakie, WY. Photo donated by Task Force Omega, Inc.

 

 

 

 

1971:

CIVILIAN Betty Gebhardt worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. She died in Saigon.

9 Feb 71:

CIVILIAN Lucinda J. Richter worked with the American Red Cross. She died of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Cam Ranh Bay.

20 Oct 70:

CIVILIAN Gloria Redlin was working with the Catholic Relief Services. She was shot to death in Pleiku and died at the Cam Ranh Bay Hospital. She was originally from Oshkosh, WI and had graduated from high school in 1953.

16 Aug 70:

CIVILIAN Virginia E. Kirsch also worked with the American Red Cross. Ginny was murdered by a U.S. soldier in Cu Chi. Photo donated by illyria.com.

 

 

 

2 Oct 69:

CIVILIAN Hannah E. Crews was also with the American Red Cross who died. She was in a jeep accident in Bien Hoa.

CIVILIAN Dr. Breen Ratterman was with the American Medical Association assigned to the United States Agency for International Development. She died from injuries suffered in a fall from her apartment balcony in Saigon. She was from Louisville, KY.

8 Jun 69:

USA ANC 1LT Sharon Ann Lane, 25, was from Canton, OH. She died from shrapnel wounds when the 312th EVAC was hit by rockets at Chu Lai. She was a month short of her 26th birthday. A clinic has been built in her honor in Chu Lai. At Fort Hood, TX their new volunteer center was named for her. The recovery room at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, CO where Sharon had been assigned before going to Viet Nam, was dedicated in her honor in 1970. In 1973, the Aultman Hospital in Canton, where she had attended nursing school, erected a bronze statue of her. The names of 110 other local servicemen killed in Vietnam are on the base of the statue. Sharon was posthumously awarded the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Bronze Star for Heroism. She was the only American woman soldier actually killed by enemy fire during the Vietnam War. Her name is on The Wall at Panel 23W Line 112. Photo donated by illyria.com.

26 Oct 68:

CIVILIAN Rosalyn Muskat worked with the Army Special Services. She died in a jeep accident in Long Binh.

29 Sep 68:

CIVILIAN Betty Ann Olsen was from New York working as a missionary nurse with the Christian Missionary Alliance. She went to Vietnam in 1964. Betty was captured along with Henry Blood during a raid on a leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot during Tet 1968. When she died she was buried somewhere along the Ho Chi Minh Trail by fellow POW, Michael Benge who had been captured on 28 Jan 68. Betty's remains have not been recovered. Photo donated by Task Force Omega, Inc.

 

 

14 Aug 68:

USA ANC LTC Annie Ruth Graham, 52, was from Efland, NC. She was the Chief Nurse at the 91st EVAC Hospital in Tuy Hoa.  She suffered a stroke and was evacuated to Japan where she died four days later. Annie was a Veteran of both World War II and Korea.  Her name can be found on The Wall at Panel 48W Line 12. Photo donated by her grandniece Christine Kirby. Annie has a page about her too!

 

 

8 Jul 68:

USA ANC 2LT Pamela Dorothy Donovan, 26, was from Allston, MA. Pam was assigned to the 85th EVAC in Qui Nhon. She became seriously ill and died of Pneumonia after only four months in Vietnam. She is listed on The Wall at Panel 53W Line 43. Photo donated by Carl Hannon who knew more about her. Carl stated that Pam had attended St Gabriel's School and graduated from St Elizabeth's Hospital Nursing School both in Brighton, MA.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Feb 68:

Three missionaries were killed during Tet 68 on a leprosarium in Ban Me Thout. It was this raid in which Betty Olsen was captured. This same location had been hit several times before including 1962 when Eleanor Vietti was captured.

CIVILIAN Ruth Thompson, wife of a minister, was killed along with her husband.

CIVILIAN Carolyn Griswald was the daughter of a minister. They both died as a result of this raid.

CIVILIAN Ruth Wilting was also killed in that raid.

30 Nov 67:

These two women  (along with two male nurses, Jerome E. Olmstead of Clintonville, WI and Kenneth R. Shoemaker, Jr. of Owensboro, KY) were returning from a shift in a hospital in Pleiku were all their extra hands and skills were required during a push in activity when their plane crashed. The women were posthumously awarded Bronze Stars and I'm sure the men received them also. Their names can be found on The Wall on Panel 31E. Eleanor is on Line 8; Hedwig is on Line 15.

USA ANC CPT Eleanor Grace Alexander, 27, was from Westwood, NJ. She was stationed at the 85th EVAC in Qui Nhon. Photo donated by illyria.com.

 

 

 

USA ANC 1LT Hedwig Diane Orlowski, 23, was from Detroit, MI. She was assigned to the 67th EVAC also in Qui Nhon.

 

 

 

 

CIVILIAN Dorothy Phillips was onboard the same plane with the nurses and also died that day near Qui Nhon. She was serving with the Army Special Services.

16 Aug 67:

CIVILIAN Marilyn L. Allan was from Albany, NY. She was a nurse working with the United States Agency for International Development. She was murdered in Nha Trang by a U.S. soldier who then committed suicide. His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial but Marilyn's isn't allowed!

 

 

 

9 May 67:

CIVILIAN Philippa Schuyler was a journalist who was killed when a helicopter crashed into the ocean near Da Nang. Photo donated by illyria.com.

 

 

 

18 Feb 66:

These two women were both assigned to the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. They died in a helicopter crash near Saigon. Their names can be found on Panel 5E. Carol is on Line 46 while Elizabeth is on Line 47.

USA ANC 2LT Carol Ann Drazba, 22, was from Dunmore, PA. Photo donated by illyria.com. Fallen Vietnam Nurse Honored by Veterans group.

 

 

 

 

USA ANC 2LT Elizabeth Ann Jones, 22, was from Allendale, SC. Photo donated by illyria.com.

 

 

 

 

3 Jan 66:

CIVILIAN Marguerite (Higgins) Hall, wife of a USAF officer, was a Pulitzer Prize award winning journalist. During her last visit to Vietnam she contracted a parasite and passed away. Photo donated by Arlington National Cemetery.

 

 

 

4 Nov 65:

CIVILIAN Georgette (Meyer) “Dickey” Chapelle, a photo-journalist, was killed by a mine while on patrol with Marines outside Chu Lai. On 30 December 2005 there was a program titled "Heroes Under Fire" on the History Channel about her life. I found it quite interesting. She had written the book "What's a Woman Doing Here?" in 1962 and Roberta Ostroff wrote "Fire in the Wind" about Dickey's life. Now there may be a movie in the works too. Dickey was originally from WI. Nanci Griffith sings "Pearl's Eye View" about Dickey that you can sometimes hear at The Vietnam Era 60's 70's music site when its working--just click on "playlist 1" and scroll down to hear it!

 

30 Mar 65:

CIVILIAN Barbara Robbins, 21, was a secretary/stenographer who died when a car bomb exploded outside the American Embassy in Saigon. She was found sitting at her desk still holding her ballpoint pen. Barbara was from Denver, CO and had been in Saigon for six months. She actually worked for the CIA which refused to acknowledge that until just before the Vietnam Women's Memorial was dedicated in 1993. Special thanks to someone from Canada for supplying this UPI photo which was found on microfilm while doing research! You might want to visit Find A Grave Memorial to learn more about Barbara, her life and death. There is also a book titled Book of Honor which has info about her. There is a plaque honoring her alongside Colorado's Vietnam Memorial Wall in Pueblo and the library in Evans Army Hospital at Fort Carson bears her name! Thanks to Ed St Clair for providing the info about the plaque and library. Also thanks to Ivan Van Laningham for providing the excellent article Barbara Robbins: A slain CIA secretary's life and death which also includes a slide show of her life and death.
 

1964:

CIVILIAN Regina “Reggie” Williams died of a heart attack in Saigon. She was the civilian US Department of the Navy OICC (Officer in Charge of Construction).

4 Mar 63:

CIVILIAN Janie A. Makil was with some missionaries in Dalat when she was shot to death in an ambush. She was only five months old.

30 May 62:

CIVILIAN Dr. Eleanor Ardel Vietti, with the Christian & Missionary Alliance, was captured at a leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot along with Rev. Archie E. Mitchell and Daniel A. Gerber. As late as 1969 negotiations were still under way to get these three people back from the VC. They continue to be listed as POW-MIA. Photo donated by Task Force Omega, Inc.

 

 

Some of the information and photos regarding the American women who died in Vietnam has come from the following sources and this author's own research:

Vietnam Women's Memorial Project
2001 S Street NW, Suite 302
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: 202-328-7253

A Circle of Sisters/A Circle of Friends
1015 South Gaylord, Suite 190
Denver, CO 80209
Phone: 303-575-1311

Ann Kelsey,
Army Special Services,
Library Branch,
Cam Ranh Bay, 1969-1970
kelsey@openix.com

Task Force Omega, Inc
14043 North 64th Dr
Glendale, AZ 85306
Phone: 623-979-5651

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