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Interview with Regina H. Schiffman [4/1986]

Constance J. Moore:

First we will deal with some general questions. When did you enter the Army Nurse Corps?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I came on active duty in August of 1949.

Constance J. Moore:

What were your expectations when you entered the Corps?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Great expectations. I say that because I was in what we called in the old days nurse's training, during World War II, and really was interested in going into the military. I was in the Cadet Corps as a student nurse and finished nurse's training when the war was over and everybody was getting out of the Army. In '49 they were accepting nurses in the Army and I was very anxious to go in. I had great expectations.

Constance J. Moore:

How did you visualize the life of a military nurse?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Well, actually I don't know. It was a little different when we got to basic at Ft. Sam and had community-type living. I felt very good about the fact that I was a First Lieutenant and we only had five in our room instead of 25 in our room. That sort of thing. I was not used to community living before that.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you feel Officers' Basic was helpful for your career?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Oh, definitely, and for introduction into the military . That was the big thing really.

Constance J. Moore:

Do you remember what uniforms you wore at that time?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Pinks and greens.

Constance J. Moore:

What was your opinion of those?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We thought they were great.

Constance J. Moore:

That's great. Were the living conditions, at that time, good?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Well, no. We lived in the old quadrangle at Ft. Sam. As I said, we had community living. It was summer time or early fall, September. It was very hot. Not comfortable. We survived it.

Constance J. Moore:

This is kind of a closing question to that section. When did you leave the Army Nurse Corps?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I retired on 1 September, 1970 after twenty-one years active duty.

Constance J. Moore:

I'd like to discuss the mobilization that took you to Korea. Can you describe your preparation for mobilization? How were you notified that you would deploy?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Actually, I was on active duty at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As a matter of fact, I had gone there from Letterman when they reopened Valley Forge. It had been closed for a short period of time and reopened. We were just receiving casualties from Korea then. I was only there six months and I was on my way to Korea. I did not go with a unit. I went as a replacement, individual-type basis.

Constance J. Moore:

How much time were you given to prepare?

Regina H. Schiffman:

In what respect?

Constance J. Moore:

How long after you were notified were you flying?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I think it was a couple of weeks.

Constance J. Moore:

A couple of weeks. So, did you have to get your personal affairs together?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Time was allowed for that really. As soon as we received orders, we started processing. We had to make out a will and all those good things, taking care of our personal matters.

Constance J. Moore:

It sounds like you had enough time.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes.

Constance J. Moore:

What kind of instructions did you receive?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Prior to departure or upon arrival?

Constance J. Moore:

What about prior to departure.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Prior to departure, nothing really except a set of orders.

Constance J. Moore:

Orders that you were going?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Right.

Constance J. Moore:

What about clothing and equipment that you were issued?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We were not issued any field clothing until we got to Japan. We just had our class A's.

Constance J. Moore:

So when you got to Japan, did they give you all the things you needed?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Not really. They gave us things that they had available that we could use. It was sort of "iffy." We had some of the men's clothing and some of our clothing.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you bring a supply of Kotex?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Everybody brings a supply of Kotex.

Constance J. Moore:

What were your expectations when you deployed? What did you think was going to happen?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I wasn't too sure really. I had never been in a situation like that before. Actually, there were 50 of us that flew to Japan. From that group of 50, ten of us went to Korea. I think I was the only one with the MOS operating room nursing in that group. As I say, most of the group stayed in various installations in Japan. As a matter of fact, it took me about two weeks before I finally got to my unit. There was a breakdown in communication about getting us over there because we ended up in southern Japan and flew to southern Korea. It was flying, hospital train/truck and all this good stuff before I got up to the unit I was going to.

Constance J. Moore:

What was the name of the unit?

Regina H. Schiffman:

The 8063 MASH. Great outfit!

Constance J. Moore:

That's great. I'm glad you feel that way. Describe your first few days of your assignment over there.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Actually, a nurse anesthetist and myself arrived at the same time. The outfit was in the middle of a push. They were receiving heavy casualties. We didn't even get cots assigned to us for the first week that we were there. We were just told to find an empty cot to sleep in when we had a few hours off because everybody was working about 18 hours a day then. We'd go and collapse and then go back to work. I think my first impession was that I was truly amazed that they could do such great things in the field. I really wasn't aware of that, as far as operating room nursing is concerned, as far as surgery is concerned. It's fantastic!

Constance J. Moore:

Were you ever concerned about your own personal welfare?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I suppose. We were inadvertently bombed one time by a stray -- by our own troops. It scares you more than a little bit. Other than that, it's hard to describe really. It's not like being safe at home.

Constance J. Moore:

Were you ever caught behind enemy lines?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No.

Constance J. Moore:

Now let's talk about clinical nursing. I'm going to have you repeat some of the things you've already mentioned. What was your area of specialization?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Operating room nursing.

Constance J. Moore:

How much preparation had you had before this?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Before I came into the Army, I had worked for almost three years in neurosurgical nursing at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, Neurological Institute. When I came on active duty, I was attuned to neurosurgery and not most other things. I went out to Letterman and Colonel Barrett, was our supervisor there. We had a little agreement that I would teach her nurses neurosurgical O.R. nursing and they would teach me the other specialties. I guess that's where I got my basic education in the specialties.

Constance J. Moore:

It sounds like you've had a lot of experience.

Regina H. Schiffman:

I didn't take the O.R. nursing course until after I came back from Korea though. This was after I was O.R. supervisor in Korea. Just to get it on my records, I got the basic O.R. nursing course.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you have any orientation to the nursing unit in Korea?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Oh, yes. When I first got there I was not O.R. supervisor. I was a staff nurse there the first half of my tour. I think we really did have a good orientation. Busy, but a good orientation.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you have someone working with you then initially?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Well, you would have to see the set up because we had one big room where saw horses were set up and everybody was working there.

Constance J. Moore:

Sort of like the MASH T.V. program then?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Right.

Constance J. Moore:

Please describe the O.R. theatre.

Regina H. Schiffman:

We had one big tent. We had canvas over the dirt. We did not have a floor. We occasionally had birds fly through the windows of the tent. We had a pot belly stove that we were boiling instruments on. Seriously. We had field autoclaves, but when we were really busy -- we were still boiling instruments at times. Here all these good times are going, the anesthetic agents and we have a pot belly stove up front. It was really neat. As I say, I was truly amazed that we were able to do as much as we could under those conditions.

Constance J. Moore:

How many different operations would be going concurrently?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We had as many as six going at one time, all of various types.

Constance J. Moore:

That's impressive. At that time, was the patient intubated or did he have a mask over his face?

Regina H. Schiffman:

It would depend on the patient's condition and the operative procedures that were being done. If they were having major surgery, I would say they were 99.9 percent intubated. Major --things like this, near the face, neck, whatever. They might just have a mask over the face. For injuries on extremities, they might do local blocks or something like this. There ~as really a variation. It was very interesting. Constance J. Moore:: Were nurses used primarily in a technical position or were they used as floating nur~e or circulating nurse like what we have in theatres in a regular hospital?

Regina H. Schiffman:

In the old days, we did both. Primarily, we were what I used to call the "tool passers." We were actually scrubbed and assisting the surgeons. We had mostly O.R. technicians circulating for us. In a set-up like that, you'd usually have at least one nurse who was circulating and supervising the techs.

Constance J. Moore:

In all the cases of surgery, what would you see the most of? 75 percent ortho? 25 percent open chest?

Regina H. Schiffman:

It really varied. We had a neurosurgical team connected to our unit. They were not part of our unit. They had their own surgeons, nurses, and operating room, but they were connected to us. They were always busy, I believe. As far as any specific types of wounds, we just ran the gamut.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you do the triage or were you in the O.R. all the time?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I was in the O.R. all the time. It was the physicians who did the triage. The surgeons did. They would go out to pre-op and check patients. Like in MASH, the show where everybody would go running out. We had helicopters coming in, but they were right outside of the pre-op.

Constance J. Moore:

How did you feel about taking care of local Nationals?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We hardly took care of any local Nationals. They weren't there. They were not allowed up in the zone that we were in.

Constance J. Moore:

What about pows?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We had some POW's. With the MASH, they're in and out. They weren't there for prolonged treatment. They were there for - emergency surgery or whatever and usually evacuated back someplace else.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you have any problems with communication?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No, not really.

Constance J. Moore:

Describe a typical day.

Regina H. Schiffman:

There was no typical day. It depended on the season. We had four seasons much like they do in this area actually. I think summers and winters were more extreme. Winter time, before you got up you would open your eyes and look at the icicles on the inner lining of the tents and think, do I really want to get out of my sleeping bag? Then you'd think, not only do I have to get out of my sleeping bag, but I have to go to that outhouse that has ice on the seat. But you did all that. As far as duty was concerned, in a MASH you were busy all the time preparing packs and instruments. When casualties were there, you just kept working. There was no such thing as shifts really. You just did it. One comment I would like to make is that it was really a great feeling to be helping people. That I'll always remember because you really were doing it right there.

Constance J. Moore:

So immediate.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes.

Constance J. Moore:

So life-threatening.

Regina H. Schiffman:

It was great.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you work on any treatment innovations of that period? For example, they used kidney dialysis over there.

Regina H. Schiffman:

No. One thing that was happening was that some of our surgeons were really distraught about the number of limbs that had to be amputated. They really were pioneers in doing vascular work, repairing arteries and this type of thing. When they weren't busy taking care of casualties, I must confess they would go out and catch dogs and work on them to try to do procedures trying to devise instruments that they could use that wouldn't traumatize blood vessels and this type of thing. It was interesting.

Constance J. Moore:

That's super. Can you think of any documentation that they might have done on that?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Not that I'm aware of. It was after that that they were really getting into more of vascular surgery.

Constance J. Moore:

You also mentioned that special team of nurses of doctors.

Regina H. Schiffman:

The neurosurgical unit. As I say, they were their own outfit really. They were just attached to us.

Constance J. Moore:

ANC's are known for their innovativeness. How did you jerry-rig things on your unit to improve patient care?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We had really interesting things. I don't know that the nurses were instrumental in bringing them about. For example, the scrub sink setup. We had a big tank outside with an immersion heater. The boys made this up. They brought pipes in. We didn't have the good equipment they had after that. We didn't have the MUST units or anything like that. We didn't even have the tables that they had after that. I mentioned that litters would be put on horses. We did try to keep the birds out.

Constance J. Moore:

How did you do that?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Just put up some netting on the windows. In the winter time it was no problem, but in the summer time it was just beastly hot in the canvas tents. If you had no circulation there, it was bad.

Constance J. Moore:

How did you maintain sterility in that atmosphere?

Regina H. Schiffman:

That was the interesting thing. Before I went over there I had no concept of how they could do this. We did. We had field autoclaves. Our linens that we used were all autoclaved. Our instruments were all autoclaved, occasionally boiled. But we used to boil instruments in the civilian hospitals in the old days, too, before we got more learned and more sophisticated. Overall, it's very difficult really when you bring dirty wounds inside, out of the field. But I think that we probably used the best technique that was possible under the circumstances. You're starting with contaminated wounds.

Constance J. Moore:

What medications were available at that time?

Regina H. Schiffman:

They were using pencillin. They were still using sulphas. Certainly not the goodies that we've had in recent years. It was the early days of antibiotics.

Constance J. Moore:

When did they start the medication? Initially back at battalion aide station? When they came to you, did you have to do everything?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I think in pre-op was the first that they would get antibiotics as far as I know.

Constance J. Moore:

So the I.V. was usually started in pre-op if they could?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No. Frequently, particularly with your seriously wounded, they'd come in with I.V.'s. They'd be brought in by chopper with I.V.'s going. Medications were not started until they got to the MASH.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you have any problems getting supplies?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Periodically.

Constance J. Moore:

How did you get around that?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We'd cry to our supply officer and he would send trucks down. Our big thing was linen. You've asked about sterile techniques. If you can't set up the sterile field, then you can't have sterility in an operating procedure. We would cry on his shoulder. Really we did very well. We were kept pretty well supplied as far as medications, I.V. solutions, blood, all this stuff. I don't think we really had a problem. We were pretty well supplied.

Constance J. Moore:

Describe the paperwork that you were responsible for.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Very little.

Constance J. Moore:

Very little?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Right. In the O.R.

Constance J. Moore:

You didn't have to write up an op report?

Regina H. Schiffman:

The anesthetist or anesthesiologist, of course, kept their records. Tthe surgeon would have to write an op report when he finished. You asked me what I had to do and I say very little. Actually, our big thing was seeing that we had the supplies we needed. Outside of requisitioning and things of this nature, we didn't have that much to do as far as paperwork was concerned. We didn't have to write up the surgical procedure.

Constance J. Moore:

Do you recall any specific incidents that highlight your practice over there? Any experiences that you'd like to share? Anecdotes?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We had a group of young doctors that carried on when we weren't busy the way MASH does. They didn't know what to do with themselves. A group of them dyed their hair red. They called themselves the Red Lancers. Really funny. We had some good times and some laughs when we weren't busy. When we were busy, it was all business. It was a great year. For example, when you don't take a shower for six months, after you wash out of a helmet and then you have a shower or a bath or something like this. It's great. Or to have a flush john when you haven't had one for a year. It's great. You learn to appreciate the little things in life.

Constance J. Moore:

Do you recall the names of others who served with you?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Not too well. It's really interesting. I stop and think about it sometimes. Maybe we try to block things out. I'm not sure. If you ask me that question now, I'll say I don't remember any of them.

Constance J. Moore:

What about where the unit went? Is it possible for you to remember the location at all or how many times you moved?

Regina H. Schiffman:

When I was with the unit, we only moved one time. Actually, we were not in towns. We were out in the field. I couldn't tell you specifically were we were.

Constance J. Moore:

When exactly did you go over? I guess maybe I'm trying to pinpoint that, too.

Regina H. Schiffman:

I went over there in either July or August of '51. I was there until July of '52.

Constance J. Moore:

Things were pretty much into a trench war.

Regina H. Schiffman:

It wasn't the frenzy they had initially when we were jumping back and forth.

Constance J. Moore:

So things were pretty established then. There was a little bit of jockeying for placement that's pretty well established.

Regina H. Schiffman:

I would say so, yes. We just moved one time after I got there.

Constance J. Moore:

What I've read about that period is that when you become entrenched there is an increased amount of activity with the locals and therefore the amount of venereal disease had a tendency to increase.

Regina H. Schiffman:

It depends on the outfit. With the MASH's, there was no civilians allowed in the area. The only civilians that we had were like in the O.R. We had two young men who swept the canvas on the floor. They'd go around and sprinkle water and then sweep it down. We had houseboys to take care of our tents. We had eight nurses in a tent. No floor. Pot belly stove. Regular cots, sleeping bags in the winter time. Very primitive. They were the only civilians there. There were no female civilians there at all.

Constance J. Moore:

There wasn't any of this going off to local moonshine place as depicted in MASH?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No. Perhaps there was with the Evacs, they were around cities. That made a difference. Probably they did have a problem. But I think the isolation was true of all the MASH's. I'm not sure. I know it was true of ours.

Constance J. Moore:

Do you remember the rank of your chief nurse?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Major.

Constance J. Moore:

When you went over there, you were a staff nurse. When were you promoted to the supervisor?

Regina H. Schiffman:

When the supervisor who was there rotated, I became O.R. supervisor.

Constance J. Moore:

What does that mean compared to being a staff nurse?

Regina H. Schiffman:

The whole thing was my responsibility then.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you scrub in or did you circulate?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Both. But I was responsible for the whole unit. In other words, the O.R. nurses were on my staff. We usually had five or six O.R. nurses plus we had our technicians. The whole thing was my responsibility when I became O.R. supervisor. At my own tender age it also brought about a few problems with some of the gals on my staff who were older than I was. It doesn't set too well sometimes. Everything worked out very nicely though.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you every have any contact with actual combat units? I know you got their wounded, but did you ever see the troops at all?

Regina H. Schiffman:

In combat?

Constance J. Moore:

Yes.

Regina H. Schiffman:

See them firing their weapons or anything?

Constance J. Moore:

Yes.

Regina H. Schiffman:

No. We were about ten miles behind the lines. I mentioned the two incidences that occurred and that was it.

Constance J. Moore:

How did you ever keep abreast of the tactical situation that was going on over there?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We were dependent on our C.O. really.

Constance J. Moore:

That's true.

Regina H. Schiffman:

He kept in touch with higher headquarters.

Constance J. Moore:

What was the relationship like between the staff members?

Regina H. Schiffman:

It was like one big family. It had to be. We were there to do a job. There was no place else to go, nothing else to do. Actually, you're very close.

Constance J. Moore:

Did the R.N.'s and doctors get along real well?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you, as an O.R. nurse, ever assume the physician's role? Now, I'm relating back to MASH where you see Margaret sewing up.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Not usually, no.

Constance J. Moore:

Would you ever sew up a scalp wound or something like that?

Regina H. Schiffman:

You'd help sometimes, but most of the time you performed as a operating room nurse, not as a physician.

Constance J. Moore:

That clarifies it. What did you think of the skill and experience level of the corpsmen?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I think they did an excellent job. Their preparation certainly varied. We had men come in from different fields that didn't have any medical experience. I think there was something inspiring about helping wounded people really. People were anxious to learn how to do it and really pitched in.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you have to basically do in-services as a result?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes, actually you did. It was no problem because everyone was anxious to learn.

Constance J. Moore:

What was their level of involvement with the patient in the O.R.?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Everything.

Constance J. Moore:

Did they actually scrub in?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Sometimes.

Constance J. Moore:

In lieu of a nurse then?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Sometimes. Sometimes with and sometimes in lieu of, depending on what was happening and their skills, what they were capable of doing.

Constance J. Moore:

You said there were anesthesiologists. Did the O.R. nurse ever operate in lieu of the anesthesiologist?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No. We had nurse anesthetists and we had at least one anesthesiologist, sometimes two or three, depending on quantity available.

Constance J. Moore:

What was the relationship like between male corpsmen who were R.N.'s and ANC's?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We didn't have any problems at all that I recall. I think I would remember them if we did, but I don't.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you have any R.N.'s that were males?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes, I believe we did have a couple in the hospital setting, not necessarily in the O.R. per se. They were very good.

Constance J. Moore:

The last section that we'll talk about deals with quality of life. You've mentioned this a little bit but I'd like to go into more detail. Describe the existing living condition.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Poor.

Constance J. Moore:

What did you consider a luxury that you could not get there?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Flush toilets, showers, bathtubs, even running water. The only running water that we had there was this jerry-rigged scrub sink in the O.R. Other than that, we had water cans in our tents and we'd keep some water in a thing on the pot belly stove so we'd have some hot water when we wanted to get washed. That's it.

Constance J. Moore:

You actually did wash in your helmets?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes, we really did.

Constance J. Moore:

You didn't have a female tent and a male tent for showers?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Oh, yes. Well, we had a shower tent. We only had one shower tent and there were different hours. The men went certain hours and the nurses were allowed to go other hours. Six months out of that year, it didn't work. That put us back to the helmet.

Constance J. Moore:

What facilities were available for sanitation? Do you recall?

Regina H. Schiffman:

They had latrines. I think we had a "two seater" in a tent.

Constance J. Moore:

What about the water?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Water was brought via water trucks. I guess it was potable. We survived on it.

Constance J. Moore:

It was chlorinated probably. Did it taste that way?

Regina H. Schiffman:

I'm sure it wasn't the greatest, but I can't recall that it was the worst either.

Constance J. Moore:

How did you obtain personal items? Did you have a full year supply of Kotex?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No, there were things that were brought in. Once a month or something like that, we'd even get supplies brought in that we could purchase. I'll take that back. Initially, you could get everything for free: toothpaste, toothbrushes, cigarettes. They had soap and candy bars together, so the candy bars tasted like soap. These were all sort of part of your rations that would come in monthly. Later on, they started charging for some of the things. Probably most of the year you'd just get most of the things for free. They'd get things like bottles of Coca Cola, cans of beer, all this good stuff, some booze.

Constance J. Moore:

Some booze?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes. That you'd order. The enlisted could not do that, but the officers could.

Constance J. Moore:

Tell me about the clothing situation.

Regina H. Schiffman:

I know at that time they really did not have satisfactory women's field clothing. We scrounged a lot over there. We'd mostly get the men's clothing because we could get something maybe that would be warm enough and fit well versus things that were just impossible to wear.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you ever have to write home and ask someone to send you something?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes. Pick up things from home.

Constance J. Moore:

Like parkas?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No.

Constance J. Moore:

Do you recall?

Regina H. Schiffman:

None of the basic clothing. No.

Constance J. Moore:

What about the food?

Regina H. Schiffman:

We had a mess tent. We had mess kits. Sort of fun. In retrospect, it was sort of fun. It wasn't bad. I was always fascinated with these huge things of coffee they'd make and throw the eggs in, you know, so that the coffee grounds would sink to the bottom. It was good coffee. We drank it out of our little canteens.

Constance J. Moore:

What kind of shifts did you work?

Regina H. Schiffman:

When things were quiet, we usually broke down into 12 hour shifts. As a matter of fact, if you were on night duty and it was quiet, usually we'd let the corpsmen sleep on cots in the O.R. and then call us if they needed us. We'd be on call then. When we had casualties coming, though, we couldn't say we only operate from nine to five. We operated around the clock. There were no shifts. You worked so many hours, you'd about fall off your feet. You'd go lay down while somebody else came to work. That sort of thing. Sort of interesting.

Constance J. Moore:

No kidding. I don't see how you can keep up that kind of thing.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Youth. Not only that, I think the fact that I pointed out that you really felt good about helping people. There was something that stirred up the adrenalin, I think, that really kept you going. You were needed there.

Constance J. Moore:

What did you do during your off time?

Regina H. Schiffman:

It varied. When we weren't busy we'd do things like take walks and enjoy the nature of the area there, being careful that there were no land mines around. They were usually checked out. There really wasn't too much to do. Occasionally, we were lucky enough to get rides to one of the cities, but not very often. We occasionally had a movie. Towards the end, we had a little club. We used to play cards. There were very simple things. There weren't many things you could do.

Constance J. Moore:

What was the club like? Was it an officer's club?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Yes. It was just a small tent.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you have any restrictions placed on movement in the compound?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No. Not really.

Constance J. Moore:

Did you get involved in any humanitarian assistance activities?

Regina H. Schiffman:

No, because we weren't in a position to do so.

Constance J. Moore:

Because you were so far forward?

Regina H. Schiffman:

They disallowed civilians to be in that area. There was no such thing.

Constance J. Moore:

How do you feel about MASH the movie and T.V. series, considering your own experiences?

Regina H. Schiffman:

When I initially saw MASH, I was very upset. I thought, "Now how can they make such a mockery of it all?" But, after I thought about it and after I saw some of the series, I said, "You know, it's really funny. They sort of confuse the issue because they were talking about the MASH in Korea and yet they were bringing in things probably that happened years later. It wasn't true at that time. I mentioned those young doctors who dyed their hair. It was because they didn't know what to do with themselves. The Red Lancers. They just had a ball when they weren't busy. They were great surgeons. They do really compare.

Constance J. Moore:

Were they that undisciplined looking?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Not quite, almost. But we had to be in uniform. We couldn't do any of that other stuff. After a while, I enjoyed it (MASH). At first I didn't. I really disapproved but I mellowed.

Constance J. Moore:

How were you treated when you returned to the United States?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Great, I probably shouldn't talk about this on the tape. I don't know.

Constance J. Moore:

It's up to you.

Regina H. Schiffman:

Well, it's one thing I don't understand. I did not go to Vietnam. I was teaching the O.R. nursing course in Benning then and most of my students went. But I can't quite see why there was such a difference in people coming back from Vietnam and people coming back from Korea or World War II. Well, World War II maybe, but Korea wasn't such a great victory as Vietnam wasn't a great victory. I don't know. Certainly, I felt,good about coming home. I have good feelings about it.

Constance J. Moore:

What do you think your most significant contribution was when you were over there?

Regina H. Schiffman:

Helping humanity. Saving lives.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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