Lt. Dee: is a young army nurse in the Vietnam War.
The story was sparked by my visit to the Washington Vietnam War Memorial Wall where over 55,000 soldiers (and nurses) died. I set this story in Vietnam in 1968 – the year of most casualties. How can a 21 year old Lt. Dee, who grew up on a Dutch Pennsylvania farm, deal with the horrors of war in a foreign country? Yet, Dee falls in love with a dashing Air Force Captain – a native American woman.
Women From Different Backgrounds and Experiences
I have set my three lesbian ebooks in Vietnam, Australia and England. I like to present lovers from different backgrounds and experiences. As they tell their stories in a military zone, around an Australian campfire or on a private plane travelling over the English Channel, I am hopeful that the reader can find references of interest.
Lt. Dee is from a strict Dutch Mennonite village set in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Her growing up years are those of a sheltered young farm girl greatly influenced by a religious community that shuns modern day inventions. However, she becomes aware of the Vietnam War and the need for nurses. The call to serve is so strong that Dee defies her family and sets off for nursing school. The training is free. Lt. Dee is trained in Texas in a hospital situation that never reflects the reality of a war zone. Dee shows the Texas hospital medical personnel that she is extremely talented as a potential surgical nurse. She is selected to work with surgeons and her reputation becomes known. What Dee does not expect is her discovery that she is attracted physically and emotionally towards women. She hears ‘horrific’ stories of lesbians. She decides she is NOT a lesbian, but someone who really likes women!
Arriving in Vietnam: The Shock of So Many Nurses
. After a grueling twenty-four hour flight in full military uniform, including nylons and heels, Dee steps off the plane into an intense tropical heat that immediately assaults her body. Her mind and senses are likewise bombarded with the smells and noises of a war zone. Within minutes, Dee and the other nurses witness a convoy of coffins bound for a homeward flight. They change into fatigues and to their amazement they are assigned to duties in a morgue on the airport base. In writing up ‘descriptions of death’ – Dee and the other nurses realize the reality of the injuries.
The First Glimpse of Love
Dee leaves the morgue assignment and gets lost in the base hospital. The staff direct her to another floor where there are showers. It is here that she meets Captain Skip, a nickname for the fact that this Air Force Captain ‘skips’ from base to base bringing the wounded to main airports for overseas treatments. Skip is an older nurse who has seen several tours of duty. The warm rivalry of Air Force and Army erupts in the shower area. Skip feels instantly attracted to the deep blue eyes and cornflower hair of this new Army rookie. She teases Dee, who at first is shy, but then ‘fights’ back. Dee realizes that Skip is interested in her by innuendoes that are made. For a moment, Dee is lost in the dark eyes and deep voice of a Navajo native person. Both women realize that their very different backgrounds make for interesting conversation. Both are hoping that this will take place in a romantic bedroom setting.
Off to a Remote Jungle Location
The chopper ride with two soldiers introduces experiences of war and comradeship. An emergency stop involves the chopper taking on wounded. The war does not have the traditional enemy lines – it is everywhere. The barber or waiter serving a soldier by day may be his Viet Cong armed enemy at night.
Dee’s love affair with Air Force Captain Skip contravenes military law. It is 1968 and both women risk dishonourable discharges that will make them unemployable as nurses in civilian life.
This novel honors their incredible courage and medical skills. I sent this story to retired Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer (who was kicked out of the Army for admitting that she was a lesbian.) A movie was made “Serving in Silence” and it starred Glenn Close. Col. Cammermeyer read the ebook and basically commented that Air Force and Army personnel seldom met. However, this is a fictional account and this is the only instance where I departed from reality.
Other ebooks by me:
Jo of the Outback: set in Australia.
Jazz: Jet Setting Carpenter: England.
All available on Amazon, Kubo, Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Apple iBooks.