After Vietnam “I Just Didn’t Fit In”: A WAF Veteran Remembers Her Service

Louise Haselrig
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DESCRIPTION

Louise Haselrig was raised by a single mother after her father died when she was four. After high school, she joined the Women in the Air Force (WAF) in 1957. In 1968, she volunteered for service in Vietnam, and served overseas from May 1968 to May 1969. While in Vietnam, she worked a twelve-hour shift, six and a half days each week. After she returned from Vietnam, she left the Air Force. Since leaving the service, she held a variety of civilian jobs, but felt that she did not fit in, and was often labeled as not being a team player. In this interview, she talks about joining the Women in the Air Force, deploying to Vietnam, and her life since returning from the war. She describes her assignment overseas and feelings of professional abandonment since she was assigned to an Army unit with no Air Force oversight. Her most vivid memory of Vietnam is waving to Soldiers from the balcony of her quarters as they rode through Saigon. She felt a connection to these Soldiers, who wanted to know her name and where she was from to make a personal connection to an American woman overseas. Since returning from Vietnam, she has felt guilty because she did not volunteer for a subsequent tour, and, when asked about her service, stated, “I’d want to go back” to continue her service overseas.

VIDEO DETAILS

conflicts Vietnam War
topics Women in Service Returning from War African American Military Experience Race in the Military PTSD
interviewer Mark Franklin
date 27 August 2016

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

name Louise Haselrig
service U.S. Air Force
unit Women in the Air Force (WAF); MAC-V HQ
specialty Force Development Administrative Specialist
service dates 1957 1969
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