President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act on March 28, 2017, to recognize and thank our Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice during one of the longest wars in our country’s history.

This act designates every March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. It is a time for all Americans to come together to remember and honor the service and sacrifice of our Vietnam veterans.

Women heroes of Vietnam War

It’s Women’s History Month, and the following eight women embodied selfless love, sacrifice, and courage. They are American heroes who volunteered to serve their country.

They joined the over 265,000 American women who served during the Vietnam era. Approximately 11,000 served in Southeast Asia. Close to 90 percent were nurses. A small number of women served in civilian capacities, such as the American Red Cross and the USO. More than 50 civilian American women died in Vietnam. Others worked as physicians, air traffic controllers, intelligence officers, clerks, and in other capacities.

1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane, U.S. Army

Lt. Lane was killed by a rocket explosion on June 8, 1969, less than 10 weeks after she arrived in Vietnam. Assigned to the 312th Evacuation Hospital, Lane was working in the Vietnamese ward of the hospital when the rocket exploded, killing her and her patients. She was from Ohio.

2nd Lt. Pamela Dorothy Donovan, U.S. Army

Lt. Donovan died of a rare Southeast Asian virus on July 8, 1968. Born in Ireland, she was assigned to the 85th Evacuation Hospital in Qui Nhon.

Lt. Col. Annie Ruth Graham, U.S. Army

Lt. Col. Graham suffered a stroke on Aug. 14, 1968. She was from North Carolina and was chief nurse with the 91st Evacuation Hospital in Tuy Hoa.

Capt. Mary Therese Klinker, U.S. Air Force

Capt. Klinker was part of an onboard medical team during Operation Babylift. Her flight was carrying 243 infants and children when it developed pressure problems and crashed while attempting to return to the airport. Klinker, a native of Indiana, was killed on April 4, 1975, just three weeks before the fall of Saigon.

2nd Lt. Carol Ann Drazba, U.S. Army

Killed in a helicopter crash near Saigon on Feb. 18, 1966. She was born and raised in Pennsylvania.

2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Ann Jones, U.S. Army

Lt. Jones, from South Carolina, was flying with 2nd Lt. Drazba and was killed in the same helicopter crash near Saigon. She was assigned to the 3rd Field Hospital.

Capt. Eleanor Grace Alexander, U.S. Army

Capt. Alexander was working in a hospital in Pleiku to help out during mass casualties from Dak To when her plane crashed on the return trip to Qui Nhon on Nov. 30, 1967. From New Jersey, she was with the 85th Evacuation Hospital.

1st Lt. Hedwig Diane Orlowski, U.S. Army

Lt. Orlowski, from Michigan, was on board with Capt. Alexander when their plane crashed on its return trip to Qui Nhon. She was assigned to the 67th Evacuation Hospital.

It wasn’t until November 1993 that the patriotic service of all women was honored in the nation’s capital at the dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

A grateful country remembers. Each dedicated herself to taking care of the wounded and dying.

Events in Augusta March 29

9 a.m. breakfast

The Travis Mills Foundation is proud to honor Maine’s Vietnam War/Era Veterans by hosting a free breakfast for veterans at the Augusta Armory, 179 Western Ave.
U.S. Army S/Sgt. Mills will be present and will prepare remarks to salute and welcome home Vietnam veterans. Mills is an ardent supporter of our Vietnam veterans, and this event is his initiative to say thank you to those who sacrificed for our freedoms during the Vietnam War.

All attending Vietnam War Era veterans and their immediate family member (spouse, caregiver, child, guest) are free of charge. The foundation asks that family members and guests be limited to ensure that more veterans can be served.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice for our nation. For questions or more information, email or call 480-3490, ext. 0.

1 p.m. ceremony

Please join the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services (MBVS) in observing National Vietnam War Veterans Day and celebrating the service of Maine's Vietnam veterans. MBVS, along with the Maine Army National Guard and Gov. Janet Mills, will host a ceremony at the State House in the Hall of Flags.

Please note that parking for the State House is limited and that all attendees must be screened by Capitol Police. Please allow plenty of time to arrive for the 1 p.m. ceremony. For more information, please contact Sarah Sherman at 430-5816 or

Joy Asuncion is a retired U.S. Navy veteran, an Honor Flight Maine board member, a Maine Troop Greeter and the Maine State Ambassador for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington, D.C. You can reach Joy at 930-5640 or