Letter to the Editor: Non-combat veterans also deserve recognition

By David Payne, Charles City, USAF, 1962-1966

During the wars and after the end we have general public recognition of the men that have served in the military. There are glowing praises to the members of the heroic Special Forces teams for the extremely difficult operations that we know of. They, of course, also serve in mundane positions, as do other men in the regular jobs whether on combat or behind the lines.

The ones I am thinking about are the nurses and doctors who have the job to save lives and limbs of the wounded coming from the front lines. These women and men deserve to be acknowledged for their heroics under terrible conditions, both physical and emotional stress.

I learned about some of the things that these young people had to endure during war. My Aunt Lorna was a young woman from Claremont, Minnesota, going through training as a physical therapist when she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corp. She was 20 years old and was stationed in England.

She and the other nurses could hear the bombers taking off from the airfields and forming into formations. Later they heard the fighters forming up and knew something big was happening. Shortly they found out that that the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, was on. That was the start of the liberation of Europe.

It was a short time later the wounded started arriving in England. As the front lines moved deeper into France, Aunt Lorna was sent to France to be closer to the fighting and to help patch up the wounded so they could be sent to England.

The same procedure is used still today and these brave care-givers’ actions usually are not in the headlines of any of the media other than in their hometown paper or an interview.  They see so much suffering that they do not want to relive it by talking about it. They need to be recognized along with the fighting personnel. Even though they were in the background they still performed a vital activity.

I salute you.