MILWAUKEE — In light of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, a Wisconsin woman hopes her story spotlights women's contributions during times of war.
Ruby Scheuing grew up in Seward, Illinois, a place that 200 people called home. Scheuing attended nursing school in Rockford and said she later felt a calling.
"I wanted to go somewhere, do something, serve my country, use my nursing skills," Scheuing said.
She decided to volunteer to serve in the Vietnam War.
"My mother had a fit. She said 'well, you can't do that.' Yes, I can. I already did. So, that was the start of my military career," Scheuing recalled.
The then 24-year-old nurse began her service in 1967 with the Army Nurse Corps.
TMJ4 News met with Scheuing in the library of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center where she shared pictures and mementos from Vietnam.
Scheuing worked as a post-op nurse in Pleiku.
"You had so many casualties and injuries and wounds, completely different than anything that you're going to get that many have in an emergency room," Scheuing said. "You just kept moving."
Scheuing and other nurses got patients stabilized then sent them off to the appropriate hospital. She remembered many of them were younger than her, 17 or 18 years old.
Scheuing recalled their facility was shelled once and they had to rush to get patients under their beds for safety.
TMJ4 News asked if she could fathom the importance of her role at the time.
"I don't think I really thought about it. It was just, this is what you do. You have to take care of these guys the best and get them back on their feet," Scheuing said.
During her training, Scheuing met her husband Gary, a combat engineer. The two fell in love and married in Vietnam.
Years after she started her military service, Scheuing moved to the Milwaukee area. She finds pride in shining a light on the women who served, especially during Women's History Month.
"There were a lot of women in the military that were other than nurses. They really don't get the recognition that (they) were mechanics on airplanes and did the job just as well as the men did, and a lot of other situations," Scheuing said.
Scheuing hoped sharing her story will encourage others to pursue their calling.
"If you have dreams go for them," Scheuing said.