1SG(R) Linda Earls felt that she was “born patriotic,” and joining the Army on August 31, 1964 was a natural choice for her. She attended Basic Training for the Women’s Army Corps at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, and remembers being scared to death as an 18 year old who had never been away from home, but she soon came to love the Army and wearing the uniform. After Basic Training, she was first assigned to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, and then to Beaumont Hospital in El Paso, Texas. In 1967, many of the nurses stationed at Beaumont were being deployed to Vietnam, and Linda Earls wanted to deploy too. She tried to re-enlist for Vietnam, but there were no slots for her MOS, so she re-enlisted for Oakland Army Base because it was “closer” to Vietnam. Once she arrived in Oakland, she again requested reassignment to Vietnam, and in March, 1968, she received orders for deployment on May 1, 1968. She served in Vietnam until May 15, 1969, and returned home as SSG Linda Earls. While in Vietnam, she worked as a clerk-typist in the USARV Comptroller’s Office, Budget Division. Upon returning from Vietnam, she served as an NCO in the WAC Company at Ft. Sam Houston, before becoming a Drill Sergeant for two years at Ft. McClellan. She served as a First Sergeant at the Omaha Military Entrance Processing Station from 1985-1988 before retiring.
In this interview, 1SG(R) Earls describes her experiences in the Army and her desire to be deployed to Vietnam. That was a formative moment in her life, and she eventually wrote a book called, “Vietnam I’m Going: Letters from a Young WAC in Vietnam to her Mother,” about her time in Vietnam, which was based on letters she wrote to her mother. She also discusses her career in the Army after returning home from Vietnam, and concludes with her thoughts about her service and lasting memories from her deployment.