“You Get Me Out Of Here, God, And I’ll Serve You”: A WAC Logistician In Vietnam

Charlotte E. Phillips
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DESCRIPTION

COL(R) Charlotte Phillips grew up on a farm in Cornwall, Vermont during the Great Depression and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. After high school, she attended the University of Vermont, receiving her degree in Home Economics Education in 1953. Following family tradition, she was the fifth generation of women in her family to become a teacher. In 1959, she joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). As a Quartermaster Officer, she started out as a Supply and Food Service Officer. In 1965, she worked at the Army Research Laboratory in Natick, Massachusetts, in the Irradiated Food section, her best tour in the Army. In 1968 she was stationed at Ft. Lee, Virginia, where she was selected for service in Vietnam and “instructed to volunteer.” She departed for Vietnam the day after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. She served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969 as the Reports Officer for USARV, G4. As a Logistics Officer, she was responsible for taking the Supply Report back to Hawaii once a quarter. After Vietnam, she returned to the WAC School to teach logistics classes. She was then selected for graduate school at the University of Minnesota, where she earned her Master’s Degree in a supply- and transportation-related field. Her next assignment was on the faculty at the Command and General Staff College. She returned to Natick Laboratories when she was promoted to Colonel, and continued to work in food service operations before deploying to Korea as the Chief of Services. After retiring from the military, she attended an Episcopal Seminary, worked as a volunteer chaplain at a hospital, and became involved in WIMSA (Women in Military Service to America) and other veterans’ organizations. In this interview, she talks about her upbringing in rural Vermont during the depression era, her college years, and her decision to join the Army. She discusses her experiences as a WAC and several of the jobs she held. She describes deploying to Vietnam in the immediate aftermath of the Tet Offensive and Dr. King’s assassination, and settling into her job in the G4 section at Long Binh. She explores many of the jobs she held in the Army after returning from Vietnam, and ends the interview by discussing the importance of veterans’ organizations and enduring friendships.

VIDEO DETAILS

conflicts Vietnam War
topics Women in Service Camaraderie Faith and Religion Patriotism
interviewer David Siry
date 26 August 2016

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

name Charlotte E. Phillips
institution University of Vermont, University of Minnesota, Episcopal Divinity School
graduation year 1953
service Quartermaster
unit USARV, G4, Reports Officer
service dates 1959 1985
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