Vietnam combat nurse to speak

Anna Jackson, Staff Writer

Susan O’Neill, a former Vietnam combat nurse, will be coming to FMU to speak to nursing students and students currently enrolled in the honors colloquium class.

According to Dr. Jon Tuttle, professor of English, director of the Honors Program and the coordinator for having O’Neill come speak, O’Neill served as a nurse in a mobile hospital during the Vietnam War. The mobile hospital was inflated and had beds and operating tables. Once needed, the hospital was deflated and moved to another location to treat the wounded.

“Based on that experience, she wrote a book of short stories called ‘Don’t Mean Nothing,’ which is a book of short stories based on women she knew and things that happened to her,” Tuttle said. “It is a great insight into Vietnam from a woman’s point of view and a noncombatant’s point of view, things that you wouldn’t, that I wouldn’t think about, unless you read this book.”

O’Neill’s first talk will take place Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 at 11:20 a.m. in Cauthen Educational Media Center (CEMC) 241. This talk will be to the honors colloquium class. However, anyone in the FMU community is welcome to attend.

“I would like to encourage anybody who is interested in that to come and hear about the short stories, but this presentation will be more about her short stories and not so much in general experiences,” Tuttle said.

At 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 6, O’Neill will give her second presentation. This talk, titled “Tour of Duty: Tales of a Combat Operating Nurse in Vietnam,” will take place downtown at the Luther F. Carter Center for Health Sciences. This will be open to anyone in interested in hearing O’Neill speak, but it will be targeted to those students studying in the areas regarding health science.

“She is going to talk about being a combat nurse in Vietnam and the kind of surgical improvisations they would have to make with limbs that had been destroyed and organs that had been found and displaced, the impossible stuff that nurses and doctors had to deal with,” Tuttle said.

More information about her works can be found on her website, Other similar events taking place this semester include a moving version of the Vietnam Wall coming to campus and a visit from the last prisoner of war released from Vietnam.