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“I never stood as tall as the day I put on one of the uniforms of my country.” (Video interview, 5:57)

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   Janis Alyce Nark
Image of Janis Alyce Nark
Janis Nark [detail from video]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Persian Gulf War, 1991
Branch: Army Nurse Corps
Unit: 44th Medical Battalion
Service Location: Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Madigan Army Medical Center and Fort Lewis, Washington; Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Colorado
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Place of Birth: MI
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Like many young nurses in the late 1960s, Lieutenant Colonel Janis Nark was wowed by military recruiters’ promises of the travel opportunities (and the eligible bachelors) involved in military nursing. Enlisting in the Army Nurse Corps and serving in Cam Ranh Bay, she says, “death was never far away.” Returning home after her tour, she worked hard to put the memories of Vietnam behind her. Being called up to serve in the Persian Gulf War brought back feelings of the hopelessness of war and forced her to grapple with post-traumatic stress disorder; she recovered through visits to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, as well as speaking publicly about her experiences.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Complete Interview  (83 min.)
Download: video
More like this
»Vietnam War: Looking Back, Part 2
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Promises made by recruiters; informing her family she had enlisted; finishing nursing school and going to basic training; learning how to march; getting her uniform for the first time. (04:29) Incident in which her air base was infiltrated; sedated patients for the night; hearing artillery; windows shattered; ammunition dump exploded; sheltering under desk. (02:21) Public reaction to her as a woman in uniform; encountering anti-war sentiment in Berkeley, California. (02:17)
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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