BOWERS HEALEY: Today is Friday, August 30, 2019. This is an interview withRuby Scheuing, who served in the United States Army from October 31, 1966 to October 30, 1968. This was during Vietnam. She served with the 18th Surgical Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam from February through December 1967, and then with the 71st Evac [Evacuation] Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam from December 26, 1967 until February of 1968. This interview is being conducted in New Berlin, Wisconsin. I am the interviewer, Ellen Healey, and this interview is being recorded for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Program. There are no other persons present. Ruby, if you could, would you please give me 00:01:00your full name, including your middle name and your maiden name?
SCHEUING: Ruby Kay Britsch Scheuing.
BOWERS HEALEY: Thank you. When and where were you born, Ruby?
SCHEUING: I was born in Oregon, Illinois, in Northern Illinois, and I was bornon the 19th of September in 1944.
BOWERS HEALEY: And then where were you raised?
SCHEUING: I was raised in Seward, Illinois, a small town in Northern Illinois.
BOWERS HEALEY: Tell me a little bit about your family, your parents and your siblings.
SCHEUING: My father was a blacksmith and he worked on farm equipment. My mom wasa stay-at-home mom and she was pretty much the disciplinarian. I had an older brother and two younger sisters. Our hometown was two hundred people, so it was very, very small. We didn't participate in a lot of things, like in 00:02:00school activities. My high school was about twenty minutes from us in Winnebago High School. After that I went--
BOWERS HEALEY: Where did you go to grade school?
SCHEUING: I went to grade school in Seward, just the elementary school there. Iwent through sixth grade, and then they had just started the middle school so I went seventh and eighth, and then high school at the high school.
BOWERS HEALEY: When did you graduate from high school?
SCHEUING: I graduated in 1962, and then I went into nursing school from 1962 andgraduated in 1965. It was a three-year RN [registered nurse] program and I went to Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, Illinois.
BOWERS HEALEY: Going back, why did you decide to go into nursing?
SCHEUING: Because my best friend was going to be a nurse.00:03:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Did she also go to Rockford?
SCHEUING: Her dad was the town doctor, so he lived in our community. I really,really was very fond of him. I was fond of all the things that he did. He was one of the doctors that visited people at home. It was just a nice, something to look forward to and to be on a standard with him.
BOWERS HEALEY: When you graduated in 1965, what did you do then?
SCHEUING: I stayed at my hospital and worked in pediatrics for just a shortperiod of time. Then I got rather restless. I wanted to do something, go somewhere. I didn't know what I wanted to do.
BOWERS HEALEY: When you said you stayed at my hospital, what was your hospital?
SCHEUING: I'm sorry, Rockford Memorial Hospital. So I decided that I would goserve my country and use my nursing skills. I went into the 00:04:00recruiting officer and volunteered to go to Vietnam. He said sign here and I was signed up.
BOWERS HEALEY: When was that that you went to the recruiting?
SCHEUING: Let's see, I'm going to say probably I went in in October, so itwould've been sometime in September. I went pretty quick. Things started happening pretty quickly.
BOWERS HEALEY: Of 1966?
BOWERS HEALEY: Let me ask this question. Back in 1966, the Vietnam War was allover the news.
BOWERS HEALEY: And casualty rates were starting to go up. Knowing that andknowing the attitude of the country toward the war, did you give any pause as to going into the service?
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you come from a military family at all?
SCHEUING: No. My grandfather had been in World War I. Well, actually I shouldn'tsay that. Yes, because my mom's brothers, she had a brother in the 00:05:00Air Force, a brother in the Army, a brother in the Navy, and then another brother in the Army. It was a military family. We spent time with them. I don't know, I just had this that I wanted to go over there.
BOWERS HEALEY: Specifically for Vietnam?
BOWERS HEALEY: Was that written into your contract, do you know?
SCHEUING: Yes. I had a guaranteed assignment to Vietnam.
BOWERS HEALEY: And prior to going into the service, down to the recruitingstation, you'd already spent about a year in nursing?
SCHEUING: Almost, yeah, it was about a year, yes.
BOWERS HEALEY: Why did you choose the Army as opposed to the Navy or the Air Force?
SCHEUING: I don't think I really gave it a lot of consideration. I00:06:00didn't want to go in the Navy because I couldn't swim. The Air Force, I had an uncle that was in the Air Force, but I don't know. I just chose the Army because that's the branch that I wanted to be in, and that happened to be where the recruiting station was. I don't think I gave it a lot of thought. It was just that seemed like the thing to do. My mother was extremely upset. She said to me, "Well, you can't do that." I said, "Yeah, I can. I already did." She did not like the idea at all.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did she tell you why she didn't like the idea?
SCHEUING: Just because of the casualties, the way the war was being pumped up,the way people thought about the war. People were not very nice about people that were a part of the effort, which I will never understand why they weren't.
BOWERS HEALEY: Was your brother in , your older brother, in the war or not?00:07:00
SCHEUING: No. He was not drafted. When he wasn't drafted, he did not go.
BOWERS HEALEY: You went to the recruiting station in Rockford, Illinois?
BOWERS HEALEY: It was pretty speedy after you signed on the dotted line?
BOWERS HEALEY: Where did they send you to?
SCHEUING: First I went to Fort Sam Houston for my basic training.
BOWERS HEALEY: How did you get there?
SCHEUING: Flew. I met another nurse along the way, and she and I flew together.She also was from Illinois. We flew to San Antonio and then we went to BAMC, Brooke Army Medical Center, for our basic training.
BOWERS HEALEY: Was your basic training all with nurses, or were there other people?
SCHEUING: No, it was with different medical people, people training00:08:00for corpsmen.
BOWERS HEALEY: What type of training did you get during those first six weeks or so?
SCHEUING: It was learning how to be a soldier. You had all your equipment and wehad gas masks where you had to go through the gas chamber and firing weapons, eating in mess hall style, cleaning up after yourself. Just those kinds of things that you needed to know to be military.
BOWERS HEALEY: Was it both men and women in the training?
BOWERS HEALEY: And you trained right with the men?
BOWERS HEALEY: What was the physical activity like or requirements?
SCHEUING: Again I don't remember that much, but I know you did your running andjumping jacks and push-ups and sit-ups, but nothing that I remember as being real, real hard. 00:09:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Let me just catch my thoughts here for a moment. So after you didthat for six weeks, where did you go after that?
SCHEUING: Then I was assigned to my first hospital, and that was WilliamBeaumont Hospital, which is in El Paso, Texas.
BOWERS HEALEY: Why were you assigned there as opposed to going directly to Vietnam?
SCHEUING: Well, because they hadn't had any hospital training. I learned how tobe a soldier, but I hadn't had any hospital. The hospitals are different just in your patients that you have and because they're all pretty much the same age. You didn't have a lot of--I came from pediatric background. Just learning. It was also a time I wore contact lenses. It was important that I got a pair of glasses while I was there, and to get all your immunizations up to 00:10:00date, so there were a lot of things that you had to do in preparation for Vietnam.
BOWERS HEALEY: How long were you at William Beaumont?
SCHEUING: Wow. Just a few months, because I then--
BOWERS HEALEY: Let me ask you also about the patients at William Beaumont. Wereyou getting people who were wounded in Vietnam?
SCHEUING: Yes, some, and then also soldiers that were from El Paso there, otherlocals also.
BOWERS HEALEY: In addition to the hospital training that you received at WilliamBeaumont, did you have much opportunity to do liberty off base or on base?
SCHEUING: Yes, as a matter of fact, I was there during Christmas and Imet my husband at an officers' club there at an engineer party. At 00:11:00that time we were both on orders to Vietnam. He was a company commander in engineer combat. He then was going over with troops. He left two weeks ahead of me, so we dated just that short period of time. He left early in February and then I left on the twenty-first maybe of February. He told me that he was going to see if he could get me assigned to a hospital that would be near him. Well, that seemed like a big thing to happen, but he did make that happen. He promised my head nurse that he would pave her parking lot just for all the traffic.
BOWERS HEALEY: Pave her parking lot?
SCHEUING: Pave her parking lot, and so she assigned me there. Then I00:12:00was assigned, I was about forty minutes from him. He was at 4th Division Base Camp and I was about forty minutes from him.
BOWERS HEALEY: That was your head nurse at Beaumont?
SCHEUING: No, my head nurse at the 18th Surgical Hospital in Vietnam.
BOWERS HEALEY: What was the rank of your husband at that time?
SCHEUING: He was a captain.
BOWERS HEALEY: And yours?
SCHEUING: Second lieutenant. We had decided that this was the one and we haddecided to get married.
BOWERS HEALEY: When you were in Texas?
BOWERS HEALEY: And how long had you dated?
SCHEUING: Just a couple of months. And so went over there and he did all thepreparations for the wedding in addition to being a company commander and having bridges blown up and fixing bridges and fixing roads. But he still had time and got me assigned close to him. We got to see each other a couple of times a month when we were there. 00:13:00
BOWERS HEALEY: What do you think would've happened if for some reason you hadgone to Vietnam and never saw your future husband for twelve months?
SCHEUING: I have no idea how that would've worked out. But this worked outreally great.
BOWERS HEALEY: While you were at Beaumont, let me go back a little bit, you werereceiving hospital training. Did you have any time to take leave and go back home or not?
SCHEUING: I did. When I left William Beaumont I went home for a week and thenhad my wisdom teeth pulled, so I was recuperating from that while I was home. Then got my orders and I went then back to San Francisco and flew out of San Francisco.
BOWERS HEALEY: Where did your flight go from San Francisco?
SCHEUING: To Alaska and then around that way.
BOWERS HEALEY: I should've asked you, before the join the military had you beenoutside of the Midwest much? 00:14:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Had you flown?
SCHEUING: No, that was my first flight. A lot of firsts coming from a town oftwo hundred people.
BOWERS HEALEY: You went to Alaska and then where did you go from there?
SCHEUING: Well, we just flew over. We were just there long enough to refuel andthen kept going on the way then, landed in Saigon. Spent a couple of days there and got my assignment, and then I actually flew up--
BOWERS HEALEY: When did you know you were going to get your assignment to Pleiku?
SCHEUING: I don't remember. I'm thinking it was three or four days after, andthen I pretty quick--
BOWERS HEALEY: After what?
SCHEUING: After our arrival. I did not know until I got in-country.
BOWERS HEALEY: That you were going to be assigned close to your future husband?
BOWERS HEALEY: Between the time that he left Texas and headed for Vietnam andbefore you left from Vietnam, did you have any contact with him? 00:15:00
SCHEUING: Yeah, I got roses. He'd been gone for about a week and I had rosessent to my home. My mom was like, "Wow, I've never had anything like this happen before." Yes, it was a dozen roses. Well, it was actually for Valentine's Day.
BOWERS HEALEY: Any other written communication or phone calls?
SCHEUING: No, just because I was kind of transient there. Phone calls weredifficult. As a matter of fact this is a sign, that's how many stations you had to go through to make a phone call. Each of those operators would put you through. When they heard a female voice and then when you finished with your phone call, they would all say, "Good night, Ruby. Good night, Ruby, Good night, Ruby."
BOWERS HEALEY: How nice. I will indicate for the record here that00:16:00Ruby was pointing to a picture or sign that looks like she had made and probably at least five different stops to make a phone call or connections to make the phone call to get to Vietnam.
SCHEUING: That was to get to him when I was in-country. This was in-country calling.
BOWERS HEALEY: And you really only had phone contact with your future husbandhow often?
SCHEUING: Not very often. He was very, very busy and it was difficult to make aphone call. So we have a few letters that we wrote back and forth in-country.
BOWERS HEALEY: Let's go back to landing in Saigon. What was your impression of Saigon?
SCHEUING: I think the adrenaline was pumping so much, I do not recall the exactfeelings I had. I was just excited to get where I was going. I don't 00:17:00recall smells. A lot of people say how intense the heat was. I was just anxious to get going where I was going so I could just start doing my business.
BOWERS HEALEY: When you flew over, were you on a military flight or a civilian plane?
SCHEUING: They were civilian planes.
BOWERS HEALEY: Were there other military people with you?
SCHEUING: Yes, on the plane.
BOWERS HEALEY: Nurses?
SCHEUING: Some, to different duty stations. Nobody else flew with me that wasgoing to my hospital.
BOWERS HEALEY: How did you get from Saigon to Pleiku?
SCHEUING: I flew by a chopper at three in the morning. I was greeted by my headnurse, and she told me I was excess. 00:18:00
BOWERS HEALEY: What did you take that to mean?
SCHEUING: I took it to mean that she was being very sarcastic, that she hadenough nurses and she didn't know why I was there. She was Major Berry. She was all military. She just wanted to make sure she kept everybody in line, and I completely understood that that was her job.
BOWERS HEALEY: She met you at Pleiku?
SCHEUING: Yes, at Pleiku at the 18th Surgical Hospital at the barracks.
BOWERS HEALEY: How long of a flight or distance was that from Saigon?
SCHEUING: I don't remember. I don't know how long the flight was. Again, I wasjust so excited to get there. I think that's another--I have small town mentality, so I really only see--I don't see the whole picture. My husband was a trained observer and I'm not. I'm pretty much straightforward. I don't remember how long the flight was. 00:19:00
BOWERS HEALEY: When Major Berry met you and told you you were excess, what elsewere you informed of?
SCHEUING: She just then showed me where my room was and to put my stuff away andthat I would be reporting for duty for our twelve-hour shifts, which is pretty much what we did. We weren't busy twenty-four/seven, but as soon as you heard the choppers coming in, that meant it was what we called a push when a large number of casualties are coming in at the same time. Then you were just busy until the job was done. The casualties came from the field. They were seen first by the combat medics, and they just stopped the bleeding and did what had to do initially, then put them on choppers. They landed on the heliport and 00:20:00our hospital was not very far away, maybe a football field away from where the choppers came in. So you have all this red dirt that's blowing all over. Then they would be triaged outside the hospital, and then into surgery. Surgeons started scrubbing. I worked as a post-op. I took care of them when they came out of surgery.
BOWERS HEALEY: You've just described what happened in terms of how soldiers gotthere and being Medevac'd in or being flown in and your post-surgery. Did you do any of the triage or not?
SCHEUING: No. The surgeons did the triaging.
BOWERS HEALEY: Let me go back to your quarters. What were your quarters like?Describe them.
SCHEUING: It was a small room. We slept with a mosquito net [phone00:21:00ringing]. It was a very small room, big enough for a twin bed. We slept with mosquito netting all the way around us.
BOWERS HEALEY: Each of you had a separate room?
SCHEUING: Well, in my room I had a separate one, but some of them were double,where you just had the netting between you. What you brought with you 00:22:00was very small. You had a couple of civilian outfits and the rest were your military uniforms.
BOWERS HEALEY: That's something else I was going to ask you about, when youpacked to go to Vietnam. Did you get instructions as to what to pack and what not to pack?
SCHEUING: I'm sure that we did, because they wanted you traveling very light. AtFort Sam Houston we were issued uniforms where we had our summer uniform and then also a winter uniform. At William Beaumont we wore whites, the white uniform, and in Vietnam we wore fatigues.
BOWERS HEALEY: What did you wear when you were doing your post-op? Were you infatigues or scrubs?
BOWERS HEALEY: Fatigues?
SCHEUING: Only people in the operating room wore scrubs, and we wore fatigues.
BOWERS HEALEY: What did your fatigues look like at that time?00:23:00
SCHEUING: Ours were green. We didn't have any camo. Our boots were black withgreen on them. Fatigue jackets. It didn't really get that cool in the highlands. It was hot, it was humid, but Wisconsin gets hot and humid, too.
BOWERS HEALEY: Better than down in Saigon?
SCHEUING: I don't know what Saigon's was. But ours, we had all this red claythat was everywhere. We were in the Central Highlands. Then the tribes people there were Montagnards, which is much like the American Indian here, that kind of roamed everywhere. It was hot. 00:24:00
BOWERS HEALEY: You said the Montagnards roamed everywhere. Tell me a little bitabout the base and the perimeter and the security.
SCHEUING: We had the wooden buildings, barracks is where we stayed. Then thehospital was in a Quonset hut with the round dome roofs. The operating room, they scrubbed outside and then from the scrubbing area you went right into the operating room. That's where they operated. Then they would finish and send them over to the post-op area.
BOWERS HEALEY: Was the post-op area in a hospital, or where was that?
SCHEUING: Yes, connected to the hospital.
BOWERS HEALEY: Another Quonset hut?
SCHEUING: It was just like a big connected-together Quonset hut.
BOWERS HEALEY: How many people were with the 18th Surgical Unit?00:25:00
SCHEUING: I think we had about twenty nurses and corpsmen, and maybe eighteendoctors, to include the anesthesiologists. We had one anesthesiologists and a couple of nurse anesthetists. Then other obviously administrative people that kept track of everything, so that's a fairly good size. Then we also had ambulance drivers. They were attached to us. The choppers, that was all a totally different unit. None of them stayed at our area. 00:26:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Did the personnel with the 18th Surgical Unit come and go or didyou all come--you couldn't have all come at one time. People had different tours of duty?
SCHEUING: Yeah, when you left your DEROS [Date Eligible for Return fromOverseas] date was according to when you came, and it was one year.
BOWERS HEALEY: And DEROS stands for?
SCHEUING: It's just when you leave, your date that you're going to be leaving country.
BOWERS HEALEY: You said most everyone was there for one year?
SCHEUING: One year. Although I had several nurses in my unit that were there fortwo years. Two years was too long to be there. One of the nurses was evac'd out on a litter. It's just too much with all the stress of having casualties coming in, you're losing some of your people. They have severe 00:27:00wounds. They're away from home, they're very, very tough and strong, but still emotionally it's really a big deal. Her fiancé, he flew planes. I don't even know what he flew, and his plane was shot down. She didn't really know how he was, where he was and so she got this information. As it turned out, he was okay, but she ended up being evac'd back to the States. I did see her at a reunion and she did get married, so it was a happy ending.
BOWERS HEALEY: Is your DEROS something that most people kept track of or not?
SCHEUING: Oh sure, everybody knew when they were going home.00:28:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Your nurses, were they all female or not?
SCHEUING: No, there were a couple of male nurses. One was a male anesthetist,but the corpsmen were male. Most of the nurses were female, most.
BOWERS HEALEY: For the one-year tour, your corpsmen, did they stay in thehospital or were some of them rotated out in the field?
SCHEUING: No, they were hospital personnel.
BOWERS HEALEY: I had asked you about the security for the base and theperimeter. You described the hospital and the post-op. Was there any security, anything to prevent the locals from coming in or not?
SCHEUING: We did have units that supported us for the perimeter. We00:29:00did have sandbags, but there wasn't a lot to protect you.
BOWERS HEALEY: You mentioned the Montagnards.
SCHEUING: And the Geneva Convention said that they couldn't fire on the hospitals.
BOWERS HEALEY: And go on about that. Did the hospital not get fired on?
SCHEUING: Only one time. When I went to the 71st Evac, we took one incomingrounds that, it didn't last long. We had to get all of the patients out of their beds and under their beds. There was one civilian that was killed, but other than that we didn't have any casualties.
BOWERS HEALEY: I'll talk to you a little later about going to a different unit.You mentioned the Montagnards. Let me ask, on base there was a mess hall, laundry. Tell me about how laundry got done. 00:30:00
SCHEUING: Well, we actually had Vietnamese women that did the laundry, but wehad a washer and a dryer. My husband was able to get us that, too. So we had an actual washer and dryer. We had hot and cold running water.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you have that when you first got there?
SCHEUING: Mm-hmm. When my husband would come to visit, he would be in there--Iincrease the time every time I tell the story, thirty minutes he'd be in there and I'm like, "What's taking so long?" He was taking a shower because they didn't have hot and cold running water, flushing the toilet. It was just things that they didn't have in the field. But we took it kind of for granted we had this. How much laundry did we have? We had a couple pieces of civilian clothes. The Vietnamese women did your uniforms, so they were ready for you. 00:31:00
BOWERS HEALEY: The chow hall, who ran the chow hall?
SCHEUING: I don't know, just an attachment that was there for a unit that didthe mess hall. The cooks, the servers, they were not hospital staff. That was just a support unit.
BOWERS HEALEY: But they were soldiers?
BOWERS HEALEY: You talked about the hospital in Pleiku. Was there more at Pleikuthan just the hospital and the helipad? Was it a base?
SCHEUING: We had an officers' club, and there was an enlisted club that wasclose by. The heliport and the barracks, that's pretty much it.
BOWERS HEALEY: Were you allowed to go off base?00:32:00
SCHEUING: We did do some community activities. There was an Australian doctor inKon Tum, which was a neighboring town. She took care of the locals, and we would go out on occasion and help her. Then we attended some rice wine ceremonies with the locals, again that was where you got a bracelet and you drank rice wine out of these jars with a straw. They did a little ceremony where they did the chicken. They would squeeze the blood on your feet and then the chicken was prepared. Every piece had a bone in it because they chop, chop, chop, chop their food. So it was a nice ceremony. Those are some of the things that we 00:33:00did with the local people.
BOWERS HEALEY: And those were local Vietnamese?
SCHEUING: They were Vietnamese.
BOWERS HEALEY: Is there a difference, and if so explain it between theMontagnards and the Vietnamese?
SCHEUING: There is a difference. You have a caste system. The Montagnards weremore like roamers, nomad type groups, whereas the Vietnamese had their own little houses, with pretty much--I have a picture here of one that's a two-story that they have that's all with bamboo and just made out of that. But yes, there is definitely a class system there. But there were so many. You had your North Vietnamese, your South Vietnamese, so you never really knew who the enemy was because they were all the same. 00:34:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Tell me a little bit about where Pleiku is located in Vietnam.
SCHEUING: It's in the Central Highlands, north of Saigon.
BOWERS HEALEY: Could you see the ocean from there?
SCHEUING: No. We didn't really--like I say, General Pierce was our commandinggeneral, and he did not want nurses flying around in helicopters to sightsee. He was not big on that at all.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did nurses ever get sent out to the field because of wounded?
SCHEUING: No. Just for community activities to help out with one of the otherunits that were--we didn't really have much camaraderie between that. We pretty much stuck to our group. 00:35:00
BOWERS HEALEY: When wounded soldiers were brought in on helicopters, were thereany medical personnel with them at all?
SCHEUING: No. They had been seen by the combat medics and they helped eachother, like for applying pressure on stuff. They were just a different group. They would be injured very badly themselves, but they were very much interested in their buddies. When they came out of surgery, you could literally see they counted arms, they counted legs and then the first question they asked was, "Where's Joe? Where's my buddy?" A lotta times we didn't know where their buddy was because they just came in, we didn't know from where. A lotta times it was from one of the hills where they had gone up the hill and lost a lotta casualties and then we didn't know if Joe had been killed, if he had 00:36:00been injured and gone back to duty. We didn't really know. Then their unit commanders would let them know at a later time.
BOWERS HEALEY: Some of the material that you provided for this interview, youindicated that the soldiers really didn't stay in post-op for very long or stay at the hospital for long. How long would you describe that stay?
SCHEUING: Maybe three or four days. We'd get them stabilized and sent them back,either to an evac hospital or back to duty or maybe further south to Qui Nhon, to Saigon. If their wounds were really bad, they'd be out of country because we had to be ready for the next push that came with more casualties. We were the surgical hospital that was what they considered a mobile Army. That's why it moved. It went to someplace else. I don't know where the 18th 00:37:00Surgical Hospital went when it moved in December, but then we just moved across the street to the evac hospital.
BOWERS HEALEY: How many beds were there in your post-op?
SCHEUING: Maybe twenty-five, thirty.
BOWERS HEALEY: Were you filled ever?
SCHEUING: Oh yeah. Then we even had some prisoners of war that were there fromNorth Vietnam, and they never stayed long. Then I think somebody, maybe the Vietnamese, they just were gone. You never really knew, they just came and took them.
BOWERS HEALEY: But they were treated by your hospital and nursing staff?
SCHEUING: They were treated, yes. And then the Montagnards, when they wereinjured they would come with a whole family, and the family--in one case we had a child that was wounded very badly with shrapnel. The whole family, 00:38:00they wanted to be inside, but they couldn't be. They didn't want to be separated from their children because if you put them on a chopper and sent them someplace, how would they ever find them? So they just stayed as a group, as a whole family, sitting and waiting for that person to get better. If a decision was made that they had to be moved to a different hospital, one of the family members would go with.
BOWERS HEALEY: I take it when you got full, the choppers started taking thesoldiers out.
SCHEUING: Well, choppers didn't usually take them out. Some did go by chopper,but it was different helicopters that would take them to various other areas. Some of them with our ambulance if they could be driven to like, the 71st Evac, so they were transported that way. 00:39:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Where was the 71st Evac?
SCHEUING: That was right in Pleiku also. That's the hospital we went to when the18th Surgical--
BOWERS HEALEY: I take it Pleiku did not have an airstrip?
SCHEUING: It did. Yeah, they did and that's where some were transported fromthat airstrip. The chopper pad was pretty much for casualties coming in as opposed to those that were leaving the hospital.
BOWERS HEALEY: I asked you how large Pleiku was and you described the surgicalunit, which was probably forty, fifty, sixty people. But Pleiku?
SCHEUING: Downtown, it was just a strip. I don't know, just a small area withjust their shops and that was--
BOWERS HEALEY: So civilian Vietnamese?
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you have a post exchange?
BOWERS HEALEY: Where was that located?
SCHEUING: That was in the hospital area there. Yeah, it was, we did. They hadcandy bars in there and other things that you could--the usual, deodorant and those kind of things.
BOWERS HEALEY: It was pretty well stocked?
SCHEUING: Oh yeah.
BOWERS HEALEY: They ever run out, or was there something you didn't have?
SCHEUING: I don't recall not getting anything. It was pretty well stocked.
BOWERS HEALEY: So you could always buy, for example, ladies undergarments?
SCHEUING: No, no, no. We wore military undergarments because they didn't reallyhave definite--the uniforms were the men's, you just got the small size.
BOWERS HEALEY: Going on with--you indicated that you got married00:41:00while you were in Vietnam and that your future husband planned the whole thing. Also in your information you indicated that your wedding dress came from Singapore. How did you get a wedding dress from Singapore?
SCHEUING: They can make anything. We had gone on an R&R [rest and recuperation]and had the dress made. Then my attendants, they ordered their dresses out of the Sears catalog and the shoes to match. I had three attendants, so they all had their dresses. It was a very formal wedding at the Air Force Chapel. The Air Force chaplain married us, Father Bartos. Then Father Joe Sheehan was an Army chaplain who my husband had gotten to know from just being in the field, and he came in his fatigues, said a blessing and left again, got in a 00:42:00chopper and left right back to the field again.
BOWERS HEALEY: So you had a Catholic priest there?
BOWERS HEALEY: Both you and your husband Catholic?
SCHEUING: Yes. Well, I actually converted over there, too. Then we were married.
BOWERS HEALEY: How did you do that? Did you have to take classes?
SCHEUING: Yes, with the Air Force chaplain. Then we were married twice. We weremarried on the twenty-first of February with a civil ceremony downtown Pleiku. Then also--
BOWERS HEALEY: Who did the civil ceremony?
SCHEUING: That was a Vietnamese priest. We think we got married. Then on thetwenty-fourth we were married in the Catholic Church. 00:43:00
BOWERS HEALEY: So you actually went to Singapore. When did you go to Singaporeon R&R?
SCHEUING: Times run together. It was right around Christmastime that we went.
BOWERS HEALEY: Who's we?
SCHEUING: My husband and I both went. We actually had two R&Rs. We went anothertime to Penang. They were kind of close together, but I don't have the dates.
BOWERS HEALEY: Where is Penang?
SCHEUING: It's in Asia.
BOWERS HEALEY: How do you spell Penang?
SCHEUING: P-E-N-A-N-G. We actually got engaged in Singapore, and Gar00:44:00[??] had ordered this plum pudding. I'd never had plum pudding before, so I'm eating it and there's something in there that's kind of weird, which is kind of gross. I used my napkin and that was my diamond that I was chewing on.
BOWERS HEALEY: When you went, you got engaged in Singapore. Did you know youwere going to order a wedding dress at that time?
SCHEUING: Yes. We considered ourselves to be engaged. I didn't have a ring, butthen when I had it in my plum pudding, I had the ring. Yes, I had the dress made. They do things so fast there. We were there for a week, but you could take it back with you. It was done, ready to go and I had ordered my 00:45:00shoes, too, from Sears. Had everything that you would have for a wedding except flowers, and we couldn't get them from Saigon during Tet.
BOWERS HEALEY: What did your husband wear for the wedding?
SCHEUING: His military dress uniform.
BOWERS HEALEY: So he took his dress uniform over?
SCHEUING: He did.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you have a dress uniform over?
SCHEUING: No. I just had fatigues. But he had planned ahead. There weresometimes, I think other occasions where he--well, he was promoted to major while he was there, but that was just in fatigues. He had his dress uniform with him, probably planning ahead.
BOWERS HEALEY: You indicated he was promoted. What was your rank when you were married?
SCHEUING: He didn't want to marry me as a second lieutenant. When my year wasup, I automatically was promoted to first lieutenant, so I was a 00:46:00first lieutenant.
BOWERS HEALEY: Just right before you left Vietnam?
SCHEUING: It would've been in October of '67 I was promoted.
BOWERS HEALEY: So the time from second lieutenant to first lieutenant waseighteen months?
SCHEUING: One year.
BOWERS HEALEY: And your attendants, you said you had three attendants, were theyall nurses or not?
SCHEUING: Yes, in my unit. One of them was in Milwaukee. We kept in touch withher for a little while and then I don't know, I haven't kept in touch. The other two I've seen at a couple of reunions.
BOWERS HEALEY: What type of reunions?
SCHEUING: We had a reunion in New Orleans.
BOWERS HEALEY: For the 18th Surgical Hospital?
SCHEUING: For the 18th Surgical Hospital, and then we had another one in DC,which are very nice. I haven't really kept in touch with people from 00:47:00my unit. It was like when we were gone, we were gone. There hasn't been a close connection. We were very happy to see each other in DC, and it was good, but we really haven't stayed in touch that much.
BOWERS HEALEY: How did you get to your R&Rs from Pleiku?
SCHEUING: We flew out of--I think from the Pleiku air station. No, we must'veleft from Saigon. We must've gone to Saigon to leave. You would think I would remember those things, but some of those are just--it was just let's get outta here. 00:48:00
BOWERS HEALEY: It was planned though?
SCHEUING: Oh yeah. He's the planner.
BOWERS HEALEY: You said he was forty minutes from you.
SCHEUING: Mm-hmm, by Jeep.
BOWERS HEALEY: So where was he stationed in Vietnam?
SCHEUING: Fourth Infantry Division. It's in the highlands also.
BOWERS HEALEY: This was your husband's second tour in Vietnam?
SCHEUING: Yes, he was there in '63-'64.
BOWERS HEALEY: So he knew at that time when you were married that he was acareer solider?
BOWERS HEALEY: Before you left, when you were dating back in El Paso, Texas, didhe talk to you about Vietnam and his experiences in Vietnam or not?
SCHEUING: No. He graduated from The Citadel, a military college, so he went aspart of a commitment. He started in the military, his first duty 00:49:00station was in Alaska, which was then considered a short tour, and a short tour being one year. Then he went to Vietnam as a dedicated advisor to the Vietnamese, and then his second tour was as a company commander.
BOWERS HEALEY: When was he there as an advisor?
SCHEUING: Sixty-three-'64, and then back again '67-'68.
BOWERS HEALEY: Having gone to The Citadel, was he from a military family?
BOWERS HEALEY: What was his home state?
SCHEUING: New York City. He either would've been a fireman, a cop or a priest.He just wanted out of there. You didn't take him to see if you liked the school or anything. When he got on the bus to go down there, he was there. That's in South Carolina. He loved it there. He was from a big city going to a 00:50:00smaller community, and me, I'm from a small town going--just very worldly. I was not very worldly.
BOWERS HEALEY: When did you decide, or was it your husband that decided you weregoing to be married in Vietnam?
SCHEUING: He did, and he said, "We will get married and then it will be--the daythat we get married, we will leave country. End." So we got married in a church and then we--it's engineer tradition for the bride and groom to ride on a bulldozer to the place of the reception. Of course, it was on a flatbed truck, so we have pictures of us going up a ladder and riding there to the place of reception. Then we went to the NCO [non-commissioned officer ] Club there and had a reception. Many of those soldiers broke out their china. China 00:51:00was a big thing to buy over there because it was very inexpensive. I bought it for my aunt and bought for my mom. These guys had bought it for their wives and their families. They broke the china out. We had it, we used it for the reception. It was boxed back up and off they sent it, they regifted to their families. It had been used. We had shish-kabobs that were outside on the grill and then brought in. My mom had sent me champagne glasses, engraved, and we had those for our toast. It was a very, very nice meal. We had a band. All kinds of pictures of the wedding. Of course they're all warped because of the humidity over there.
BOWERS HEALEY: Where did you get the band?
SCHEUING: It was soldiers that played instruments.00:52:00
BOWERS HEALEY: So your mom sent you engraved champagne glasses, so obviously youtold your parents that you were going to get married?
SCHEUING: Oh yes. Being from the Catholic church, his dad had to make sure thatthat was approved in New York City for him to marry me. I have a lot of documents of things that had to happen. His parents knew, my parents knew. They'd never met him. I'd never met his parents. We invited them, but they didn't come. Gar's dad sent a telegram and he said, "Sorry I couldn't make it. The Hotel Hilton was not accepting reservations."
BOWERS HEALEY: Lots of paperwork, that's interesting, from New York City.
SCHEUING: Oh everything, it was paperwork, everything.
BOWERS HEALEY: And that's because you were being married out of country?
SCHEUING: Yes, that was one thing, because it wasn't common for an00:53:00American to marry another American. There were a lot of GIs that married Vietnamese women, but this was kind of a first thing in this area for Americans marrying Americans.
BOWERS HEALEY: You got transferred to the 71st Evac Hospital in Pleiku. I didn'trealize, but that was because the 81st left?
SCHEUING: The 18th?
BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, the 18th.
SCHEUING: Yes. There were a lot of things going on, political things that Idon't know why it moved. The 18th Surgical Hospital was actually a unit that was established in World War II. It had Australian connections when it started. Then they brought it back again in Vietnam, so that was two different 00:54:00times that hospital unit--I don't know what the reasons was for that to move. But we came back from one of our R&Rs and there was nobody there. It was a little scary, like whoa. My husband got on board and found out that they had just moved down the street.
BOWERS HEALEY: There was no effort, I take it, to move you to the 18th, or was there?
SCHEUING: Well, we were not apprised of this happening because I was verysurprised when we came back and they weren't there.
BOWERS HEALEY: And you were gone just a week?
SCHEUING: Yeah. The buildings were still there, but there was no one. They hadmoved everything else.
BOWERS HEALEY: So what did you do? Did you just go back to your barracks?
SCHEUING: Well, there was nobody there. We had to find out where. He contactedsome soldiers actually, there were probably people on the perimeter 00:55:00and stuff and found out. Then we just went to the 71st.
BOWERS HEALEY: So you just kind of checked yourself in to the 71st and they took you?
BOWERS HEALEY: Do you know what happened to your paperwork?
SCHEUING: Oh, there's paperwork. The orders, and then you get maybe nine ofthem. You get a copy, this person gets a copy, that person gets a copy. Even to go on leave or to leave, the paperwork. Then for us, leaving, me coming with a different name after we got married. Oh there's lots of paperwork. We have a lot of orders.
BOWERS HEALEY: At the end of December, you went to the 71st Evac. What were yourduties there?
SCHEUING: Same. I had the same job.00:56:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Different part of the base?
SCHEUING: Pretty close. Just a short distance away.
BOWERS HEALEY: Had you been to the 71st before?
BOWERS HEALEY: Different barracks that you moved into?
BOWERS HEALEY: Where were all your personal belongings after the 81st left?
SCHEUING: Well, they kind of gathered everything up. It was just kind ofshocking that they weren't there. It was there. We just had to grab the stuff, but there was nobody there. It was just an eerie--
BOWERS HEALEY: And you don't know where the--I keep saying 81st--18th Surgical,you don't know where they went?
SCHEUING: I don't know where they moved to. I don't think that they--I think itjust kind of wasn't anymore. Although I had a note from somebody that told me yes, they were at the 18th Surgical. They came in '69. I'm thinking that they moved it to a different area, I don't know.
BOWERS HEALEY: You mentioned General Pierce as not wanting nurses to00:57:00be on flights.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you ever meet him? Where was he stationed, or you don't know?
SCHEUING: He was at 4th Division base camp also. I never met General Pierce, buthe did invite us out one time, just for a little get-together. I saw him, but I never really met him.
BOWERS HEALEY: You've explained your experiences in post-op and in Pleiku. Lateron when you got back to the United States, a show called M*A*S*H came on. What were your impressions about that?
SCHEUING: I never watched it that much. Well, there wasn't near as much carryingon in the linen closet. You knew a lot of things. My boyfriend was my 00:58:00life when I was there. As for other things that were going on around me, I was pretty much a stick your head in the sand. I didn't know of any nurse/doctor things going on, but I'm sure somewhere there were. As an officer, you did not have any relationships with an enlisted person. There was a little bit of that that went on that was highly, highly irregular. That's just not what you do in the military.
BOWERS HEALEY: Let me ask you about another thing that is sometimes talked aboutwhen people talk about the Vietnam War, and that is the prevalence of illegal drugs, marijuana. Did you have any inclination that that was going on?
SCHEUING: I did not. I think I, again, was very naïve. I had people00:59:00coming out of anesthesia. I don't really know. Then we didn't really keep them at our hospital to get any closeness to them to find out what they were doing in their units. But I've talked to a lotta people that said yes, there were a lot--
BOWERS HEALEY: Did your husband ever talk about that, drugs in the unit?
SCHEUING: He did, but he didn't really talk that much about it. He had a lot ofissues with it.
BOWERS HEALEY: You've also indicated that after you were married, and you weremarried at Pleiku--
BOWERS HEALEY: How many days did you stay at Pleiku after you were married?
SCHEUING: Well, right after we got married, had the reception, then we got on aplane with a Vietnamese general and flew to Saigon. We were hoping to 01:00:00get out the next day, but we had to stay two nights. This was during Tet, so they're fighting in the streets and we couldn't get out. I think we were there for two days and then we were able to get out of country.
BOWERS HEALEY: When you were still in Pleiku, did you know that Tet was going on?
BOWERS HEALEY: How did you know that?
SCHEUING: Just because of the number of casualties.
BOWERS HEALEY: I take it you were very busy up until the time you got married?
SCHEUING: Very, very, very busy.
BOWERS HEALEY: Any indication that they were going to continue on? That thecasualties were so high that they might keep some of the nurses and doctors and not let them depart?
SCHEUING: That was a big thing. When your year was up, they sent you home.Except for these people that--I was, I guess considered what you call enlisted since I chose to go in, but the nurses that were there, these were 01:01:00regular Army people. They chose to stay another year or they were asked to stay another year and they said yes, they would. It's just very, very traumatic just with the numbers and the kinds and the young people. They're so strong and you're working with them to get through this, to have extremities that were blown off. It was very difficult, but you had to get through it. You can't dwell on me. You have a lotta people to take care of. I have said before, I came home with a good feeling just because I was there. I could do what I could do, and it was happening whether I was there or not. Just being there helped so 01:02:00much, to see a female was reassuring, just to hold their hand. It was very reassuring for them.
BOWERS HEALEY: You indicated that you had twelve-hour shifts. Did you work bothday and night shifts while you were in post-op?
BOWERS HEALEY: Switched off?
BOWERS HEALEY: You said when the casualties were there you just worked until yougot the job done?
SCHEUING: Right, everybody was taken care of.
BOWERS HEALEY: How long did you work sometimes?
SCHEUING: I don't recall it being more than twenty-four hours. You just stillneed a little bit of a break where somebody can relieve you and then you just don't have a long break, but then you just go back in again. It was 01:03:00just until everybody was taken care of.
BOWERS HEALEY: You said you knew because of the number of casualties coming intoPleiku that Tet was going on, and it basically started end of December/January timeframe.
SCHEUING: January to February, yep, 1968.
BOWERS HEALEY: Anything else, besides the casualties coming, in Pleiku was theremore noise, more explosions? Was there a different reaction from the civilians around or not?
SCHEUING: There was more activity, but a lot of this, the administration hadeverything. We really just had our job to do and we did it. I don't know. I think other people were aware more so than we were, because you were 01:04:00just busy and you just did what you had to do.
BOWERS HEALEY: Then you went to Saigon. Where did you stay at Saigon?
SCHEUING: At the Caravelle. That's just a big hotel there. Then when we did getout, we had a forty-one day honeymoon coming home. We spent, in Japan, we went to Hawaii, went to San Francisco, Las Vegas, on to my folks in Illinois. Then my mom had a reception for us there. Then we went on to New York City to Gar's folks. Then finally ended up at our duty station at Fort Lee, Virginia. I finished up my tour of duty there. I was eight months pregnant and they just wanted me out of the military. They did not want a woman having a baby in the military. That was those times. Now they have maternity uniforms. 01:05:00
BOWERS HEALEY: I was just about to ask. What did you wear?
SCHEUING: I only gained eight pounds with the first one, so I still fit in myuniforms. I was a little pudgy. They were aware of it, but did not want me to have that baby on active duty.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you ask to be discharged early or no?
SCHEUING: No, no.
BOWERS HEALEY: Was anybody pushing you to be discharged early?
SCHEUING: They just wanted me to hurry up. They wanted my date to be up soon.
BOWERS HEALEY: You were discharged when?
SCHEUING: The thirty-first of October in 1968.
BOWERS HEALEY: Let me go back to Saigon. You said you observed the Tet offensivegoing on there. What did you observe from the Caravelle?
SCHEUING: Just a lot of firing, a lot of--01:06:00
BOWERS HEALEY: In the streets?
SCHEUING: In the streets.
BOWERS HEALEY: You could see firing?
SCHEUING: Guns, right. You could see automatic weapons, you could hear noises,you could hear fighting.
BOWERS HEALEY: Were you up in your hotel?
SCHEUING: Yes. They had a rooftop and you could be there. This hotel seemed tobe secure, but it was just violent.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did the hotel have security?
SCHEUING: Yes, they had security.
BOWERS HEALEY: The people staying there Americans or what?
SCHEUING: No. They had troops outside and Vietnamese, too. They were good soldiers.
BOWERS HEALEY: I take it that was a place that the Americans knew that therewere civilians there, enough so to have security there?
BOWERS HEALEY: Or not just civilians, but military people who were--01:07:00
SCHEUING: Whoever protected, yeah. We felt safe there, but who knows for howlong? But eventually it did cease a little bit and then we just got outta there.
BOWERS HEALEY: Anything in particular you remember observing from up on top ofthe hotel?
SCHEUING: It was just the fighting in the streets, which was very--that was notnormal for Saigon.
BOWERS HEALEY: At night, too?
SCHEUING: Yeah, that's when you could see the weapons firing.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did it disrupt traffic at all?
BOWERS HEALEY: I assume you were probably eating meals at the hotel?
BOWERS HEALEY: Was there any disruption in food that was being brought in?
SCHEUING: Didn't seem to be.
BOWERS HEALEY: How did you get word that a flight was ready for you and that youcould get on a flight?
SCHEUING: My husband took care of all of that. I just jumped on the plane.
BOWERS HEALEY: And the flight back on that plane, who was on the plane? Was it amilitary plane or a civilian plane? 01:08:00
SCHEUING: Civilian plane. We didn't come back like everybody else where you camefrom Vietnam to San Francisco and there were all the people. Since we went right to a duty station and we didn't come back with the rest of the military people that were discharged on those days, we just went to our little place. We just picked up from Vietnam and did your job, your assignment. I just had a short period from February to October that I finished up, then fulfilled my two-year commitment. Then my husband decided that he just really didn't like nursing that much. He did not like the hours because I was the new person, so I 01:09:00got the nights. Obviously he worked in a position that he had days, so were just coming and going, seeing each other--
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you nurse for a while after you had your first child or not?
SCHEUING: No, because I had Kristen on the twenty-fourth of November. When I gotout, he just said, "I think we can do it without your working." So I didn't work, and I was a stay-at-home mom until my baby went to sixth grade.
BOWERS HEALEY: Before we go on to your life back in the United States, is thereanything about your Vietnam experience that we may not have mentioned that you would like to talk about?
BOWERS HEALEY: I just wanted to give you the opportunity to go back there if youwanted to. What did you do at Fort Lee? What was your assignment in the hospital for those six to ten months or whatever? 01:10:00
SCHEUING: I worked as a post-op nurse again. I was on nights.
BOWERS HEALEY: So that's where your husband got the notion that he didn't--
SCHEUING: Yes, I worked nights. He worked days.
BOWERS HEALEY: I see. Where was your daughter born?
SCHEUING: At Fort Lee, at the hospital there. I have a son that was born therealso, so we were there for two, three years.
BOWERS HEALEY: At Fort Lee, what was your husband's assignment?
SCHEUING: He was with the BIMSCOM [??], another one of those--I'm just drawing a blank.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did he stay in engineering?
SCHEUING: He was in engineering. He also taught a lot of engineering01:11:00classes, and then after that we went to Kansas, where he was Command and General Staff College. Then he did more teaching. He ended up with a job as an advisor to the Alabama National Guard.
BOWERS HEALEY: While he was still on active duty?
SCHEUING: Yes. That was our last duty station. Then he got out in '79.
BOWERS HEALEY: Let me go back again. You talked about this long honeymoon forforty-one days including your husband meeting his in-laws and you meeting the in-laws when you went to New York. Tell me about that experience.
SCHEUING: That was an experience after being from a town of two01:12:00hundred people. When we went to my hometown, my husband stood and he looked up the street and he looked down the street. He said, "Do you realize that the apartment building I was raised in had more people than this?" That really brings it into perspective. Then when I went to New York I was the typical, my jaw hanging open. The rush of everything and everybody's fast and everybody moving.
BOWERS HEALEY: What part of New York City was he from?
SCHEUING: In Brooklyn. I watched a robbery in broad daylight with a lady with ababy carriage that went--my husband said to me, "Why didn't you say something?" He was taking my picture and I had this expression on my face. I said, "Gar, I just couldn't believe in the middle of Central Park in the middle of the day that someone would be taking someone's purse." The baby carriage was 01:13:00fine, nobody was hurt, but stealing in the middle of broad daylight. I liked New York City, I liked visiting there. I loved his parents. We got along fine. He loved my parents, and that turned out very well. New York City was just big for me.
BOWERS HEALEY: Then after you were discharged from the Army, you stayed at FortLee and had your baby. How did you feel the transition was from being active duty military to being almost all of a sudden a wife, a mother and also a dependent and having a different role with perhaps other dependent wives?
SCHEUING: I just flow with the breeze, because I found that it worked very wellfor me. I met some friends that were with my husband's--the other 01:14:00wives of the people in his unit, and then a very close friend that I've stayed in touch with that we had our babies together and then we did exercises together. Because we lived on the post, so we had on-post housing. Your neighbors were all dependents. Most of the military were men. There were not that many ladies that were military. So the transition was very easy, it was smooth.
BOWERS HEALEY: Again, you were pretty sure your husband was going to stay in fortwenty years, and went on to Kansas. How did you like Kansas?
SCHEUING: We were there for just a year, and it was fine. The military familiesare very kind and everything went very well. You hung out with people 01:15:00that had children the same age as yours. When they're babies, you do baby things, you do carriage walks. It was very nice.
BOWERS HEALEY: Where did you say you went from Kansas? Did you go to Alabama orsomewhere in between?
SCHEUING: After Kansas, yeah, we went to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
BOWERS HEALEY: Had you ever been in the south before?
SCHEUING: No. We didn't really travel that much. People there were just so kind.We met people the first night we got in, and they're, "Y'all come back and see us now, you hear," when we left. They were sincere about it. A lotta times up north, people aren't quite as sincere. We really liked Alabama. 01:16:00That was what the kids called home because Steven--oh no, I'm sorry. From Fort Lee we went to Korea. It was again a short tour where Gar was not supposed to bring family, but he paid for our way to get there. We went to Korea.
BOWERS HEALEY: How large was your family at that time?
SCHEUING: Two kids. Then Steven was born there. I see now that they're nothaving--Steven, we had to naturalize him when we got back to the States, so he has dual citizenship. He's Korean--but I talked to people in Germany and they said, "Oh, we didn't have to naturalize us because they were born on a military facility. It's a US facility." And I said, "Well, we had to 01:17:00naturalize Steven when we came back from Korea."
BOWERS HEALEY: He was not born in an Army hospital?
SCHEUING: He was born in an Army hospital, at Yongsan on the post there.
BOWERS HEALEY: What base were you located?
SCHEUING: Yongsan. He was, but he is a naturalized citizen. He has the papersand there are ribbons on it and all this kind of thing.
BOWERS HEALEY: So he's your last child?
BOWERS HEALEY: From Korea you went to Redstone?
SCHEUING: No, from Korea then we went to Kansas and then to Redstone.
BOWERS HEALEY: Was Redstone your last duty station?
SCHEUING: Yes. Then Gar retired in 1979 and then he went to the St. John'sMilitary Academy in Delafield. We chose to come this way because I'd be fairly close to my parents. His dad lived in New York City, but his dad liked to travel and he'd fly and visit us. He lost his mom, but Pop would still like 01:18:00to come to visit. He decided we would be closer to my folks if we were in the Wisconsin area. So this is just where stayed then.
BOWERS HEALEY: He taught at?
SCHEUING: St. John's Military Academy. I think it's now St. John's Northwestern.
BOWERS HEALEY: How long was your husband there?
SCHEUING: For five years.
BOWERS HEALEY: Did you live in Delafield?
SCHEUING: Yes, we lived actually on the campus at St. John's.
BOWERS HEALEY: After Delafield, where did your family go?
SCHEUING: Then we went to Elm Brook and Elm Grove, and Gar kind of retired after that.
BOWERS HEALEY: Illinois?
BOWERS HEALEY: Elm Grove, Wisconsin?
SCHEUING: Yes. Then the kids started schools. We moved to Waukesha, where theywent to Catholic Memorial and so the kids were going to school and 01:19:00then it just really goes fast.
BOWERS HEALEY: So you're pretty firmly established now in Wisconsin back by the'80s, I take it?
BOWERS HEALEY: You decided because your children were raised here in large part?
BOWERS HEALEY: Ever think about going anywhere other than Wisconsin?
SCHEUING: No. I started working when Steven was in sixth grade, that's my baby,at the Kettle Moraine Middle School, so I worked twenty-five years at the middle school as the attendance secretary and then retired. Now I stay very--
BOWERS HEALEY: When did you retire from being a secretary at the middle school?
SCHEUING: Two thousand ten.
BOWERS HEALEY: And you've lost your husband. When did you lose your husband?01:20:00
SCHEUING: Two thousand eight on Veteran's Day.
BOWERS HEALEY: Tell me what other involvement you've had? Your whole home hereis decorated in red, white and blue and stars and stripes. What other involvement have you and your family had with military since you came back to Wisconsin?
SCHEUING: I am a volunteer for Stars & Stripes Honor Flight. We have a largeorganization there, and that's an organization where we send veterans to Washington, DC for the day to see their memorials, to spend time with fellow veterans on these flights. It's just for payback, just to show how much we care. Then we have a large homecoming, and again, just to appreciate and welcome them back home again. I'm also just recently a member of the Wisconsin 01:21:00Vietnam Veterans Chapter One in Milwaukee. Then I have six grandchildren that I spend as much time as I can with their events and activities and love them dearly.
BOWERS HEALEY: Do they live in the area?
SCHEUING: I have four in the area and two in Texas.
BOWERS HEALEY: Tell me about your children just briefly, what they do and wherethey live.
SCHEUING: Kristen [??], she lives here in Milwaukee, and she is the educationprogram manager at the Milwaukee War Memorial. She has one son. Then Jeremy [??] is her significant other. Michael is a 1993 West Point graduate. I 01:22:00had the honor of taking an honor flight, and Michael [??] was my guardian. He now just started his own business, Defender Headquarters. He provides medical supplies and equipment to active duty and retired service members for the VAs [Veterans Affairs] and all the federal businesses.
BOWERS HEALEY: Where does Michael live?
SCHEUING: Michael lives in Texas. This service is as a disabled veteran, thebusiness is. He just started that. Then I have a son, Steven [??]. Steven has his own practice, Southshore Family Chiropractic, and he's the owner and practitioner, and he's in South Milwaukee.
BOWERS HEALEY: And he has children?
SCHEUING: He has three girls. And then Michael has two children, and they'reboth in Texas. 01:23:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Michael is a West Point graduate?
BOWERS HEALEY: Did he do one tour in the service?
SCHEUING: He had five years.
BOWERS HEALEY: Engineer or not?
SCHEUING: No. As a matter of fact, his was quartermaster, which is supplies. Sohis business he just decided if he didn't do it now he would never do it. It's something that he's very passionate about.
BOWERS HEALEY: Where does he live in Texas?
SCHEUING: Lantana, which is a small town north of Dallas. I call it a made-uptown because they took ranches and then they just put up a house every day.
BOWERS HEALEY: You recently went on an honor flight?
SCHEUING: I did, November 4, 2017.
BOWERS HEALEY: Had you been to--
SCHEUING: I had been. I went as a guardian in 2012, and then I went01:24:00on mine in 2017.
BOWERS HEALEY: So you have several grandchildren in the area that you see?
SCHEUING: Yep, I have six grandchildren and four of them are in the Milwaukeearea. My oldest is just starting high school, so it's exciting years.
BOWERS HEALEY: You're a collector of many things?
SCHEUING: Of many things. I'm not a very disciplined collector.
BOWERS HEALEY: When did you start collecting the red, white and blue stars and stripes?
SCHEUING: If I see an American flag, I've gotta check it out. That's how I gotinto the honor flight is we were leaving to go someplace at the airport and I saw these flags. I thought, "What's that all about?" So I found out that it was an honor flight and I said, "I've gotta send in my application there because that's what I wanna do." 01:25:00
BOWERS HEALEY: How long have you been supporting the honor flight?
SCHEUING: I became a part of it in 2011. We have six flights going out this yearin the fall, which is unusual. We have two in September, one in October and one in November. Each of them are two planes. Then we just have a big championship flight coming up that is on the ninth of October, and that is a flight that is being sponsored by the Packers, the Brewers and the Bucks. All three of these organizations are sending three planes to DC on that day. There will be some veterans, I think mostly from each of the major teams, but they will be guardians to some of our veterans. 01:26:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Anyone talk to you about your own experience in the military?Have you ever talked to high school children and that sort of thing?
SCHEUING: I have. My daughter, like I say, she's with the education department.She signs me up for things. "Hey Mom, do you think, hey Mom, would it be okay?" I have done some speaking. I've gone to several schools and participated in Veteran Day programs.
BOWERS HEALEY: What questions do you get asked at the schools?
SCHEUING: The kids are--usually what did you eat? Were you very busy? Thosequestions that just are what children ask. If I fired guns. 01:27:00
BOWERS HEALEY: I didn't ask you about that. Did you do any weapons training as a nurse?
SCHEUING: Yes, we did at Fort Sam Houston. We did, we fired weapons. But we didnot have weapons. We were not assigned weapons, which is a good thing, because I wasn't very good.
BOWERS HEALEY: Anything else the kids ask you about?
SCHEUING: What did I do for fun in Vietnam? They don't usually ask me goryquestions, just basics are what they wanna know.
BOWERS HEALEY: How long has your daughter been working with the museum downtown?
SCHEUING: The War Memorial? I'm thinking it's been four years.01:28:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Is that when you started speaking to schools?
SCHEUING: Yes, because I worked in a school for twenty-five years and I neverfelt comfortable talking to any of the classes. I didn't think that my story was that good. My story is just completely different than the combat soldiers. They were there. I just took care of people that were injured. But then I started talking and somebody said, "Well, everybody has a story." Mine's just a little bit different than everybody else's.
BOWERS HEALEY: I want to ask you while we're still on tape, how was it that youfound out about the oral history interview program for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum?
SCHEUING: I found out about it from Tiffany Keller.01:29:00
BOWERS HEALEY: Where did you meet her?
SCHEUING: I met Tiffany through one of Kristen's programs, through the WarMemorial. But actually she was at the VA and she was a part of the Women Are Not Invisible program. She invited us to that and we went there, and that was at the VA. Met Tiffany there, and then I've seen Tiffany around on several different occasions. She's really a go-getter. I'm very proud of the works that she does.
BOWERS HEALEY: I'm sure you've looked back on it, your two years and01:30:00your decision to volunteer to go to Vietnam. How do you look at that now?
SCHEUING: Oh I would do that again in a heartbeat. I would. Even knowing what Iknow and it is a war situation, dealing with these young soldiers was just very rewarding. You just came home feeling that when you can just hold somebody's hand and it helps to take away some of the anxiety, but yet you're helping them to get better. We never really followed up because they were just sent to another location, so you don't really know the existence of their wounds. But I find now, through Chapter One I've met a lot of Vietnam veterans and 01:31:00they've become friends. People that you feel they're all very, very interested in helping other veterans. Through honor flight, I have World War II veterans that are very, very close friends. One of them is ninety-five, one is ninety-three. Just through Tiffany again--no, this was through one of Kristen's War Memorial events, I met Anna Mae Robertson. She's ninety-five. She was one of the women who was part of the 6th 888, which was an all-Black female unit in World War II and they were postal workers. Their job was they were 01:32:00first in England and they were assigned to--there was an exaggeration, a room full of mail and they had six months to figure out and get this mail to everybody. A lot of them were letters that moms would write, Dear Johnny, and they had to find out who Johnny was, where Johnny was, and get him the mail. They did it in three months. Then they sent them to France and they did the same thing again with a six-month limit and they got it done again in three. I met her. One of the sweetest, kindest women you'd ever wanna meet. She was at Vet Fest and she was signing her pictures. She came with one of her daughters, and she just was very enthusiastic and just a very, very nice, kind lady. 01:33:00You meet a lot of different people through these veteran organizations.
BOWERS HEALEY: You've become more involved in veterans organizations in the lastfive or ten years than you were previously?
SCHEUING: Oh sure, yeah. I think it's through honor flight, because you meet allof these veterans and they all have stories. You don't have a lot of time to talk with them except in the morning when they're boarding the plane. They all have different stories. When they fly on their missions they'll have you, if it's a three-seater, they have the veterans sit together and then their guardians sit behind them so the veterans can talk amongst themselves. It's an experience where they're going there--they were all in Vietnam, different times, different duties, different positions, working with different people. 01:34:00But when you go to the Wall, you have people that were there and knew six, eight people on the Wall on this one day that were killed right beside them. Those people, it's kind of a closure for them where they can go put their hand there and they can feel that thank you for all you did to help to make this country free. So I feel truly blessed. May God bless America. The veterans really have done something that we can all be very proud of.
BOWERS HEALEY: Thank you, Ruby. I don't have any other questions. Is thereanything else you want to add?
BOWERS HEALEY: Thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time to shareyour story. It will be a valuable part of the collection at the 01:35:00Veterans Museum.
SCHEUING: It was an honor and a pleasure to serve.