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Former Army nurse speaks at Chamber luncheon
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
December 13, 2012 08:40 AM | 1347 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Army nurse Donna Rowe shares her story of saving the life of an injured baby during the Vietnam War.
Army nurse Donna Rowe shares her story of saving the life of an injured baby during the Vietnam War.
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When she speaks to any group, former Army Nurse Corps Capt. Donna Rowe said she wants to be clear what it means to be a Vietnam War veteran.

Rowe, featured in the documentary “In the Shadow of the Blade,” was the keynote speaker for the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Georgia Power lunch sponsored by Carroll EMC last week.

Rowe started out her speech explaining how she was raised in Massachusetts.

“My mother said, ‘Do what is right, make a decision, take the consequences and move on,’” Rowe said.

She spoke very highly of her parents’ generation.

“The generation that raised Vietnam vets were special people,” Rowe said.

The lessons from her parents’ generation helped teach her age group to serve when their country called them, she said.

She said the average age of a soldier in Vietnam was 18. Now, it is 26.

Rowe said she remembered from a young age she should always honor veterans and go to church every Sunday — which instilled patriotism and faith in her, she said.

She said that kind of upbringing helped shape the lives of many in her generation.

“Leaders are not born, they are made by circumstance and inner character,” she said.

She explained that most female soldiers serving during the Vietnam War were assigned to the war zone, not on bases stateside.

“Ninety-nine percent of the women had boots on the ground,” she said.

While working at a hospital in Saigon she made the decision to let a plane bring in an infant girl whose village had been destroyed by the enemy, even though she was not allowed to do so, because the baby needed surgery to survive.

Rowe had the girl baptized by a Catholic chaplain and named Kathleen Fields, so if she made it they would be able to keep her in a nearby orphanage. Navy Lt. Marvin Cords heard the story during a church service and asked to adopt the baby, she said.

During production of “In the Shadow of the Blade,” the story of Kathleen became known, and the filmmakers located the then-34-year-old woman in California and reunited her with those who saved her life, Rowe said.

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