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Oral history interview with Susan Haack-Huskey 1994.

Author: Susan Haack-Huskey; Mark D Van Ells; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
Edition/Format:   Archival material : Cassette recording : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Susan Haack-Huskey, a Madison, Wisconsin native, discusses her Vietnam War service in the Women's Army Corps. Haack-Huskey explains that she enlisted out of solidarity for her brother who was drafted in 1967. Sent to Fort McClellen (Alabama) for basic training and describing herself as a "rabble- rouser," she got in trouble immediately and was put on punishment detail. Haack-Huskey claims she "wised up fast" and  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Personal narratives, American
Named Person: Susan Haack-Huskey; Edwin H Burba
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Susan Haack-Huskey; Mark D Van Ells; Wisconsin Veterans Museum.
OCLC Number: 232300649
Event notes: Interviewed by Mark D. Van Ells on July 12, 1994 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Description: Sound recording : 1 sound cassette (ca. 96 min.) ; analog, 1 7/8 ips. Transcript : 40 p. Military papers : 0.1 linear ft. (1 folder) Master sound recording : 1 sound cassette (ca. 96 min.) ; analog, 1 7/8 ips.

Abstract:

Susan Haack-Huskey, a Madison, Wisconsin native, discusses her Vietnam War service in the Women's Army Corps. Haack-Huskey explains that she enlisted out of solidarity for her brother who was drafted in 1967. Sent to Fort McClellen (Alabama) for basic training and describing herself as a "rabble- rouser," she got in trouble immediately and was put on punishment detail. Haack-Huskey claims she "wised up fast" and became a squad leader before her assignment to the Pentagon as an administrative assistant to Gen. Edwin H. Burba, Sr. Haack-Huskey describes working at the Pentagon as exciting and characterizes life in the Pentagon Enlisted Barracks (Fort Meyer, Virginia) with four hundred women from four branches of service. She addresses inter-service rivalries, especially with the Marine BAMs (Broad Ass Marine) who tried to beat the WACs up. She mentions that she was in Washington, D.C. during the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy funerals. Haack-Huskey volunteered for service in Vietnam and was sent to Bien Hoa in January 1969. She describes being paired with a male officer during the plane ride over and having him sexually harass her during the trip. At the WAC detachment at Long Binh, she describes a large number of lesbians there saying, "we had our clique and they had theirs." She further claims being sexually attacked by a lesbian on her first night; however the woman left her alone after words were exchanged. She details frequent Viet Cong attacks on her base, hiding in bunkers during the attacks, living conditions in the WAC detachment, and near-misses for her buddy, Sue, and her. She explains various duties she performed as an administrative staff member including duty reassignments, death statistics, and real estate. Haack-Huskey characterizes the relationship between the men and women as one of respect where they treated the women as sisters. However, she does tell a story about one man who refused to take orders from her, eventually being sent to combat on the DMZ and reveals an expression used with rookies, "You buy or Fu Bai." Haack-Huskey discusses the drug situation in Vietnam, particularly concerning marijuana. She states her belief that many soldiers in the field were killed because their reactions were slower. She speaks of sexual harassment from men returning from the field, expresses the opinion that the Black women got away with more than they did, explains how they "sneaked choppers" (rode on helicopters to see the countryside), and tells of finding cockroaches everywhere. She speaks of her plane ride home explaining that everyone was quiet and apprehensive until the plane got up in the air and then they began to celebrate. She tells a number of stories concerning various reactions, good and bad, to her arrival and travel to Wisconsin in combat fatigues as a Vietnam veteran. She tells how bitter she felt to be serving in Vietnam and reading about Wisconsin and Madison being a hotbed of protest against the war. Once home, she forgot about being in Vietnam and only revealed to employers that she was a veteran. "I just blocked," and it was twelve years before she told others and then got involved in a variety of veterans organizations including being the first woman commander in Wisconsin of a VFW post. She addresses the healing process that participation in veterans organizations and reunions offer and believes that Vietnam veterans feel they have to prove themselves. She speaks of her PTSD which occurred many years later, but was related to an incident in Vietnam when an Army mortician forced her face into body bags and locked her in the morgue. Haack-Huskey reveals she married badly to a Vietnam veteran, who had gotten involved with heroin in Vietnam, and her use of the G.I. Bill to attend Madison Area Technical College.

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Linked Data


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