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Susan O'Neill

Susan O’Neill was protesting the Vietnam war until her first step onto the tarmac in Vietnam. When she signed up for the Army Nurse Corps, she was told that she would never be sent to Vietnam. The opportunity to, as she said, “travel for money” excited her, and the Army Nurse Corps provided great training for her career as a nurse. Before she left for Vietnam, she trained in an amputee unit in Fort Sam, Houston which cared for soldiers from the Vietnam War who were made amputees. What O’Neill saw made her question what happens to veterans after war, which somewhat prepared her for her time as a nurse in Vietnam. O’Neill witnessed the deepest tragedies of the war, from watching women and children die to watching foreign women sell their bodies to American soldiers; from viewing fellow nurses mentally implode from the pressure to watching men slowly die, O’Neill saw everything. In this conversation she shares many dark stories, and in her book, Don’t Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Vietnam, she fictionalizes many similar stories.

Susan O_Neill
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