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"I could not believe I was coming home to the same reception I received twenty-three years before, following World War II. This time I was not the enemy, but I was there saving lives, perhaps their loved ones." (Memoir, page 59)

   Carolyn Hisako Tanaka
Image of Carolyn Hisako Tanaka
Carolyn Hisako Tanaka, 2000.
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army Nurse Corps
Unit: 24th Evacuation Hospital
Service Location: Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Ord, California; Long Binh, Vietnam
Rank: Captain
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Nicknamed Road Runner for her unflagging energy and enthusiasm, Carolyn Hisako Tanaka served in Vietnam in spite of a scarring childhood memory. At the age of six, she saw her family evicted from their California home in the wake of Pearl Harbor and relocated to an internment camp in Poston, Arizona. When the family returned to California after the war, they found their home burned to the ground. In 1966, as an emergency room nurse, she decided to enlist in the Army, telling skeptical friends, “I have a skill that is needed in Vietnam, and I’m going there to do my duty for my country.” Ironically, she returned from that war to a “welcome” that brought back bitter memories.

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