Vietnam nurse shares war experiences - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Vietnam nurse shares war experiences


A Marathon County woman is opening up about her Vietnam War service.

Lynn Kohl, 67, of the Town of Maine served as a nurse during the Vietnam War.

On Sunday, Kohl shared her experiences during a presentation at the Woodson History Center in Wausau.

Kohl says she never thought she would go to war.

That's at least what she says an Army recruiter told her when she was 22-years-old.

"[The recruiter told me] you can't be sent if you're a woman, unless you volunteer, so I finally joined and I was the first one to get orders," said Kohl.

From 1969 to 1970, the army stationed her at the 71st Evac Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam.

"We were rocketed and mortared almost every day, so we were not in a very safe place," said Kohl.

There she worked as an operating room nurse, helping wounded soldiers straight from the battlefields.

"You had no choice but to adjust immediately," said Kohl. "My first five minutes in surgery, I had to cut an arm off and it just kind of went downhill from there, so you were just thrown in it and you just had to do it."

About 50 people, including fellow Vietnam veterans, attended her presentation.

"I just like to see and hear how people did in Vietnam in different places they served over in Vietnam compared where I served," said Wayne Pittsley of Marshfield.

Kohl says telling her story is part of her healing process.

"Every time I talk about it, it helps," said Kohl. "On the other hand it brings everything back, puts you back all the memories. So, it's a double edged sword."

She says she hopes sharing her experience will teach others.

"That there's a high price," said Kohl. "A high price for freedom and every veteran and every family has paid it."

Kohl's presentation was a part of the Marathon County Historical Society's Vietnam series.

Organization leaders say more Vietnam veteran speakers will give talks throughout the year.

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