984 – Australian medical volunteers in Vietnam caught in a squeeze

Margaret Ahern, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Army nurse Margaret Ahern in Hoa Long during the Vietnam War.

Episode 984 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast delves into a curious situation down under in Australia. It has to do with the 450 medical personal who answered the call from their country for medical volunteers to serve in the Vietnam War. They are suffering the same maladies as uniformed Vietnam Veterans have been facing for years. Such things as PTSD, Agent Orange related diseases and more. Radio commentator Justin Smith delivered an opinion piece on Melbourne’s 3AW radio station titled: The Vietnam war volunteers our leaders are ignoring that laid out the situation for all to consider.

Smith reports that the Australian government has denied them the same medical benefits as our other veterans. Despite the fact they were volunteers, they feel the government owes them something for their service. He stated: “The next time you see a politician lay a wreath and then give an emotional speech about the Anzac spirit and mateship and sacrifice, I’d like you to gently take them by the arm and raise an issue that’s bothering quite a few people.”

They all received the Australian Active Service Medal, but they’ve been refused proper governmental financial and medical support. The approximately 300 remaining Vietnam War medical volunteers are getting older and being tormented by their health conditions which not only effects their quality of life but their financial assets.

Dot Angell, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Professor and former Vietnam War nurse Dot Angell did a PhD on her fellow nurses.

One of the volunteers Dot Angell was there in 1967. She later earned a PhD that featured her fellow civilian nurses. She discovered that many of her comrades were experiencing the same ongoing medical and psychological conditions the uniformed military personnel were encountering.

She has autoimmune conditions and has been diagnosed with PTSD. She served at a hospital next to a large US air base in country that was frequently sprayed with Agent Orange and was often attacked with enemy rockets.

Get more on this tough story in episode 984.


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