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Collection Valedda Wilson
WVM ID Number OH 1071
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with Valedda Wilson
Date 2007
Event Korean War
Narrator's Name Valedda Wilson
Interviewer's Name Terry MacDonald
Description In this oral history interview, Valedda Wilson, a Chamberlain, South Dakota native, discusses her experience overseas in the Air Force Nursing Corps during the Korean War.

Wilson talks about entering the Air Force in 1951 after a year of postgraduate work at Baylor University Hospital. Wilson states she chose the Air Force because they were sending nurses overseas without requiring them to serve stateside for two years. Wilson describes her job as a supervisor on the GoldBricking Ward at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma (Washington). She speaks of being sent to a fifty-two bed hospital in Japan, where she became a triage nurse for wounded soldiers arriving on planes from Korea.

In 1952, Wilson discusses being sent to the hospital at Kunsan Air Force Base (South Korea) as an operating room supervisor. She mentions she served with nurses from Australia and Sweden, and she describes living conditions. According to Wilson, the hospital at Kunsan took care of routine medical matters so that soldiers could get back to the battlefield while more serious matters were sent to Japan. As the only operating room nurse at the base, Wilson talks about being on call 24/7. Wilson speaks of being exposed to some danger from broken glass and rusty nail bombs dropped from the cockpits of small Chinese planes that flew under the radar. In addition, Wilson recalls a faulty bomb exploding on the flight line causing significant injury to base soldiers. While in Korea, Wilson indicates that she saw General Dwight Eisenhower after he had been elected President but before he took office. She also met MacArthur and his successor. In her free time, Wilson mentions traveling around Japan and volunteering on weekends at a ski lodge set up to provide rest and relaxation (R&R) for soldiers. Wilson states that she received double time for her service in Korea. After return to the States, she talks about receiving training to be a nurse anesthetist.

She stayed in the Air Force for eight years after her return, serving at Tinker Field (Oklahoma), Lackland Air Force Base (Texas) and March Air Force Base (California). She discusses leaving the service with the rank of captain when she became pregnant. Wilson states, "When you got married and pregnant back then, they told you goodbye." After her discharge, Wilson speaks of living in a home she and her husband, an Air Force pilot, bought near March Air Force Base (California). She touches on moving to Green Bay (Wisconsin) after he was discharged and working as a nurse at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay. Wilson states she uses the Veterans' Administration for health care and medication and has been active in veterans' organizations, including being the National Director of the Honor Society of Women Legionnaires (National Twenty and Four).
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 25 minutes)
Transcript: 12 pgs.
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Biographical Record Wilson, Valedda