Friday, March 27, 2009

A Circle of Sisters

A CIRCLE OF SISTERS • CIRCLE OF FRIENDS began as a coalition of friends and families of civilian women who died while serving with various organizations in Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

In a special ceremony on November 12, 1993, tributes were presented in the memory of 58 civilian women -- honoring their service to America and her soldiers, in hopes of bringing deserved recognition for that service and long awaited comfort to the families and friends who will always grieve them.

It is our belief that more civilian women lost their lives during this conflict. It is hoped that in time, families and friends will come forward to add their names to this Honor Roll.

• • • •

Twenty thousand American civilian women volunteered to work in Vietnam (during the war years) with such organizations as the Red Cross, Army Special Services, the USO, the Department of Defense, the State Department, U.S.A.I.D., the C.I.A. and Operation Baby Lift.

There were yet others who went as journalists, missionaries and civilian medical personnel.
It is commonly known that 8 military women died as the result of their service in Vietnam (one as a result of hostile fire). Those 8 names are listed on the Wall.

Few, however, are aware that 58 AMERICAN CIVILIAN WOMEN were also killed in the line of duty in Vietnam. Their names are not on the Wall. In fact, they were known and remembered only by those who loved them... their family and friends.

The Circle of Sisters was founded in 1993 (by Jolynne Strang of Colorado and Cathleen Cordova of California) to publicly honor these patriotic American veterans of the Vietnam War who gave their lives and whose contributions have gone unacknowledged far too long.


American Red Cross

Hannah E. Crews Died in a jeep accident, Bien Hoa, October 2,1969.
Virginia E. Kirsch Murdered by US soldier in Cu Chi, August 16, 1970.
Lucinda J. Richter Died of Guillain-Barre syndrome, Cam Ranh Bay, February 9, 1971.

Army Special Services

Rosalyn Muskat Died in a jeep accident, Long Binh, 1968.
Dorothy Phillips Died in a plane crash, Qui Nhon, 1967.

Catholic Relief Services

Gloria Redlin Shot to death in Pleiku, l969.

Central Intelligence Agency

Barbara Robbins Died when a bomb exploded in front of the American Embassy, Saigon, March 30, 1965.
Betty Gebhardt Died in Saigon, 1971.

United States Agency for International Development

Marilyn L. Allen Murdered by US soldier in Nha Trang, August 16, 1967.
Dr. Breen Ratterman Died in a fall from a balcony in Saigon, October 2, 1969.

United States Department of the Navy OICC (Officer in Charge of Construction)

Regina "Reggie" Williams Died of a heart attack in Saigon, 1964.


Georgette "Dickey" Chappelle Killed by a mine on patrol with Marines outside Chu Lai, November 4, 1965.
Phillipa Schuyler Killed in a firefight, Da Nang, May 9, 1966.


Carolyn Griswald * Ruth Thompson * Ruth Wilting: All 3 killed in raid on leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot during Tet February 1, 1968.
Betty Ann Olsen Captured during raid on leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot during Tet 68. Died in 1968 and was buried somewhere along Ho Chi Minh Trail by fellow POW, Michael Benge. Remains not recovered.
Eleanor Ardel Vietti Captured at leprosarium in Ban Me Thuot, May 30, 1962. Still listed as POW.
Janie A. Makil Shot to death in an ambush, Dalat, March 4, 1963. Janie was 5 months old.
Evelyn Anderson * Beatrice Kosin Both captured and burned to death in Kengkok, Laos, 1972. Remains recovered and returned to US.

Operation Babylift

The following women were killed in the crash, outside Saigon, of the C5-A Galaxy transporting Vietnamese children out of the country on April 4, 1975. All of the women were working for various US government agencies in Saigon at the time of their deaths with the exception of Theresa Drye (a child) and Laurie Stark (a teacher). Sharon Wesley had previously worked for both the American Red Cross and Army Special Service. She chose to stay on in Vietnam after the pullout of US military forces in 1973. (Source: August 13, 2000 The Baltimore Sun)

Barbara Adams * Clara Bayot * Nova Bell * Arleta Bertwell * Helen Blackburn * Ann Bottorff * Celeste Brown * Vivienne Clark * Juanita Creel * Mary Ann Crouch * Dorothy Curtiss * Twila Donelson * Helen Drye * Theresa Drye * Mary Lyn Eichen * Elizabeth Fugino * Ruthanne Gasper * Beverly Herbert * Penelope Hindman * Vera Hollibaugh * Dorothy Howard * Barbara Maier * Rebecca Martin * Sara Martini * Martha Middlebrook * Katherine Moore * Marta Moschkin * Marion Polgrean * June Poulton * Joan Pray * Sayonna Randall * Anne Reynolds * Marjorie Snow * Laurie Stark * Barbara Stout * Doris Jean Watkins * Sharon Wesley

-- Data is based on research and interviews for the Reflections in Marble collection.