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Collection Pamela Berg
WVM ID Number OH 1076
Object Name Oral History
Title Oral History Interview with Pamela Berg
Date 2007
Event Vietnam War
Narrator's Name Pamela Berg
Interviewer's Name Jim Kurtz
Description In this oral history interview, Pamela Berg discusses her service with the Army Reserves from 1972 to 2000 and her experiences as a civilian occupational therapist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tomah [Wisconsin] during the Vietnam War.

Berg speaks of her father's service in World War II, and of her brother's service in Vietnam. Graduating from high school in Cashton [Wisconsin] in 1966, she attended Stout State College for one year, transferring to the University of Kansas and graduating in occupational therapy. Berg worked at the VA hospital in Tomah from 1970 to 1973, where she helped set up a six-week program to assist returning veterans who were having difficulty adjusting to being home. She explains that some were transferred while others were referred to the program or earned their way off of locked psychiatric wards. Berg explains that many veterans suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but there was no name for it at the time. She describes the program as including group and individual therapy, work detail, and assessments. Berg relates that therapy focused on realizing you are not alone and that success came to those who came into the program looking for something. She reveals that some veterans were mentally retarded and were brought into the armed services through the draft and touches on the relapses of chronically mentally ill veterans and "free-loaders."

Berg left the VA and went to work at the University of Texas and then on to Utah where she worked at a state training school and developed a program for handicapped preschoolers. After this, she returned to Tomah to work with the mentally ill and those in acute alcohol rehabilitation. She was a first lieutenant in the Army Reserve for the 44th General Hospital, was on active duty in Fort Carson [Colorado], Fort Sam [Texas], and worked in a burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center. Berg tells about her participation in competitive rifle marksmanship from 1978 to 1987 and the sexism she had to overcome to be a part of the 6th Army Team. She was a captain with the 328th General Hospital when she joined the combat rifle team in Salt Lake City [Utah].

She served on inactive duty from 1987 to 2000 and her highest rank was lieutenant colonel. Berg recalls that working with veterans gave her goals and direction. She finds the current veterans hospital conditions inexcusable.
Extent and Medium of Description Analog audio recording: 1 audio cassette (approx. 45 minutes)
Transcript: 18 pgs.
Reproduction Conditions / Copyright WVM owns copyright to this material. Contact the WVM Research Center for further information about Terms of Use.
Biographical Record Berg, Pamela
Search Terms Vietnam War