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Watts, Holley J.
Who Knew?  . . . Reflections on Vietnam

Small Press BookThis is a quirky memoir with pithy paragraphs describing a Donut Dolly's tour of Vietnam.  She describes the Clubmobile, dangerous trips via road and encounters with two alien cultures - the military at war and Southeast Asia.  The book is in an attractive format and is well illustrated with excellent photographs she took during her 1966-67 tour.

"Who Knew?..." is being used as part of the Jr/Sr class English curriculum at James Madison University  on the literature of Vietnam . Longwood   University , Mary Baldwin College and The Virginia Festival of the Book have requested copies for their review as well as faculty members at the Universities of Southern Mississippi and California , Santa Cruz . 

Books may be purchased through the author's website

Baker, Mark
Nam : The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There

Published November 1996. [paperback]


Bigler, Philip
Hostile Fire : The Life & Death of First Lieutenant Sharon Lane

A competent biography of Sharon's short life as well as a very good account of the life of a nurse in Vietnam and the functioning of a hospital there.

Published July 1996. [hardcover]


Borton, Lady
After Sorrow : An American Among the Vietnamese

Published October 1996. (Previously in hardcover.) [paperback]


Breuer, William B.
War and American Women : Heroism, Deeds, and Controversy

Contains stories from nurses who served. [hardcover]


Cammermeyer, Margarethe with Chris Fisher. 
Serving in Silence

This interesting memoir is about a woman who had a stellar career as a nurse in the military until it came out she was gay.  She then fought the attempts to have her discharged.  One chapter deals with her time in Vietnam. Made into a TV movie with Glenn Close and Judy Davis.  

Did you experience discrimination in the military because of sexual orientation?  Col. Cammermeyer is researching a new book; "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

United States United Kingdom Germany France
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[video]

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Small Press Book
Deardorf,
Barbara, Diane DuPont, Linda Goodheart, Rhona Prescott, and Ann Thompson

Another Kind Of War Story: Army Nurses Look Back To Vietnam

Poems, reminiscences and photographs compiled by four nurses.  It's a good book and I recommend it.  Prescott was with the Third Field Hospital, 616th Clearing Company; and 85th Evac.

United States United Kingdom Germany France
[paperback]      

Dell, Diana
Memories Are Like Clouds 
[website]

Set in East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, in the 1950s, Memories Are Like Clouds is a touching childhood memoir of a sister and her brother, who died in Vietnam. This poignant baby-boom story, filled with memorable characters, is a fond remembrance of growing up in small-town America when life seemed simple.  [paperback]

A Saigon Party (And Other Vietnam War Short Stories) [website]

Short stories drawing on the author's experience with the USO in Vietnam.   This book is great fun.  The introduction is worth the price.   Many of the stories are tongue-in-cheek but always with the uncomfortable recognition that sometimes she is kidding on the square.  This is one of three fiction books I am aware of by women who were in Vietnam.  [paperback]


 

Edwards, Charlene

Voices from Vietnam: The Tragedies and Triumphs of Americans and Vietnamese-Two Peoples Forever Entwined By the Legacy of War

A magnificent achievement.  The author made multiple trips to Vietnam and around the states to interview and photograph her subjects.  This book covers the men and women from both sides and is something special in the literature of the war.  This is one for your bookshelf.  2002

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Canada  In Spanish Japan Austria
[hardback]
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Fortin, Noonie [ author's website]

    Memories of Maggie : Martha Raye : A Legend Spanning Three Wars

The author did exhaustive research.   Visit the author's website  Mar 1996  

United States United Kingdom Germany France
[paperback]      

Potpourri of War : Labors of Love Remembered

Jun 1998  

United States United Kingdom Germany France
[paperback]      

Women At Risk: We Also Served

About women who served our country since before World War II to present day. All branches of the military are included, officers and enlisted personnel, as well as women who volunteered as civilians going to a war zone, those that stayed stateside, and other loved ones. Included are clerks, drivers, heavy equipment operators, nurses, USO and ARC volunteers, and more. More than sixty women are profiled in this book. 

United States United Kingdom Germany France
[paperback]      

Franklin, H. Bruce
The Vietnam War : In American Stories, Songs, and Poems

This book is noteworthy in part for including women veteran poets.   Jan 1996. [hardback]


Gruhzit-Hoyt, Olga
"A Time Remembered : American Women in the Vietnam War"

This is a collection of pieces by the women below.  The author has taken their words and reworked them.  Although the style with its passive voice is a bit off-putting, the power of the collective and individual voices cannot be denied.  This is a very important addition to the small body of work on women who served in Vietnam.  Like all such books, it is not easy reading.  Take your time with it.  Oct 99 [hardback]  Books from the UK![hardback from the UK]

Army Nurse Corps
Anne N. Philiben
Connie Christensen McCall Connolly
Mary Dickinson 17
Carolyn Tanaka 31
Diane Corcoran 41

Navy Nurse Corps
Beth Marie Murphy
Kay Bauer

Air Force Nurse Corps
Monna L. Mumper
Eileen G. Gebhart
Donnaj. Cunningham
Donna K. Buechler

Women's Army Corps
Karen Offutt
Claire Brisebois Starnes
Linda S. Earls

Army Special Services
Ann Campbell
Marianne Gable Reynolds

International Voluntary Services
Janice Shomer Kavadas

USO
Mara Hodgkins

American Red Cross
Jennifer Young
Dorothy White Patterson
Martha L. Royse
Mary Blanchard Bowe
June Smith
Linda Sullivan Schulte

U.S. Agency for International Development
Barbara Hamilton
Bobbie Keith

Epilogue
Connie Rosendale, ANC


Hansen, J.T.; A. Susan Owen and Michael Patrick Madden.
Parallels : The Soldiers' Knowledge and the Oral History of Contemporary Warfare

Includes the story of nurse Nikki Nicol [hardcover] [paperback]


Small Press Book Hansel, Sarah, and Ann Steidle, Grace Zaczek, and Ron Zaczek, editors. Soldier's Heart: Survivors' Views of Combat Trauma

A collection of prose, poetry, and art by veterans, male and female.


Hass, Mary E.
Women's Perspectives on the Vietnam War

Per the publisher: A broad and colorful overview of the diverse roles played by American and Vietnamese women during the war as combatants, nurses, social workers, politicians, journalists, entertainers, wives and mothers. Challenges the reader to appreciate the vital role of women in what typically is considered a young man's affair. Illustrated. Discussion questions included.  June 1991 [paperback]


Hendrix, John-Michael
To Have and To Hold

Small Press BookThis is an account by a 1st Cav scout pilot of his two tours, and of meeting and courting his wife, who was a nurse with the 85th Evac, Phu Bai.   They were married in Vietnam.  You may know of this as the book that inspired the children of Granite Falls to prod that town into holding the first Veterans' Day parade since 1918.  The book is quite good.  It was written for the author's children and embraced by a classroom, but I would not consider it a children's book.

Emerald City Publishing
30528 Mountain Loop Hwy.
Granite Falls, WA 98252

$15.90 per book (includes shipping)  Author will sign on request


Hovis, Bobbi
Station Hospital Saigon : A Navy Nurse in Vietnam, 1963-1964
[excerpt]

Published May 1992. A competently written, understated, detailed account by a nurse assigned to the first military hospital in Vietnam. [hardback]


Kazickas, Jurate (editor)
War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters who Covered Vietnam 

Inspired by a conference which reunited many of these pioneering women.  Nine women reporters recount what their war in Vietnam was like: Tad Bartimus, Denby Fawcett, Ann Mariane, Jurate Kazickas, Kate Webb, Laura Palmer, Edith Lederer, Anne Merick and Tracy Wood 

From the Back Cover:  “This book is about our experiences as women reporters covering the Vietnam War from 1966 until the fall of Saigon, in 1975. Each of us has written a chapter about what we saw and felt in Indochina—our adventures, fears, excitement, and the difficulties and loneliness."

United States United Kingdom Germany France
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Canada      
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Korbel, Kathleen
A Soldier's Heart (Silhouette Intimate Moments, No. 602)

Published November 1994. Yes, this is a romance novel. Yes, I have read it.  It is the only romance novel I have ever read--which is just by way of background about this review.  It is about a nurse with PTSD. The author is not a vet, but she has an understanding of PTSD--which is not entirely reflected by the ending.   The book isn't badly written but it is way too mushy.   [paperback]


Laurent, Pauline
Grief Denied : A Vietnam Widow's Story

“Grief Denied” is a competently written book about a Vietnam widow, Pauline Laurent, who for many years lived a life defined by her husband’s death.  In telling her story, she provides support as well as a roadmap on how to remake herself as woman whose life did not end with her husband’s. [my review]

[paperback]


 Lee, J. Edward and Toby Haynsworth [website]
White Christmas in April: The Collapse of South Vietnam, 1975  

I haven't read this book but per the author, "[it includes interviews with] Sally Vinyard and Ann Hazard. Sally was the Housing Officer in Saigon. She spent two tours in Vietnam for a total of 72 months. She was a key individual in the operation of the Evacuation Control Center at the Tan Son Nhut airfield in April of 1975. For the last ten days of the fixed wing evacuation from Tan Son Nhut she was not able to leave her post. She was only able to catch some sleep at random lulls in time between the arrival of refugees and the departure of aircraft. Ann Hazard was the Disbursing Officer for the Defense Attaché Office. As the communist forces closed in on Saigon, she was called upon to coordinate the payment salaries to thousands of Vietnamese employees and contractors. She was also involved in the destruction of millions of American dollars on the last day of the evacuation of the country by helicopter. Both Vinyard and Hazard were important figures in the evacuation of Vietnam that saved the lives of many Americans and thousands of our Vietnamese allies."

I heard these two women speak on a panel several years ago.  It was the first time they had spoken in public and we were told to "listen up" because it would be the only time.  I am glad someone has chronicled their astonishing stories.  Among other things, they thought being hired by the US government was assurance that Saigon was safe, what it really meant was the situation had deteriorated so that men wouldn't take the jobs . . .


Norman, Elizabeth
We Band of Angels : The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese

This is, of course, WWII, not Vietnam, but I have heard so much good about this book that I had to include it.  Some of the reviews were mixed, but I have to go with word of mouth on this and it is very positive.  She has interviews interwoven with the history. [hardback] [paperback]

Women at War : The Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam

A bit dry, but well worth reading, especially as there are so few books on women in Vietnam. 1990  [paperback]  


O'Neill, Susan  
Don't Mean Nothing : Short Stories of Vietnam
 (audio interview)

Fiction by a nurse who served 69-70 at Phu Bai, Chu Lai and Cu Chi.  " . . . a bloodstained Alice stepping through the looking glass."  This is an excellent collection of short stories.  The author says " . . . the tragedy, the irony, the death, the sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, and yes, that gallows humor peculiar to survival in war -- is just a bit of what the Vietnam War really did mean."

I would add that the stories are very well told and, like all good war stories, will remain with you.  

United States United Kingdom Germany France
[paperback]
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Palmer, Laura [author's website]

War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters who Covered Vietnam (edited by Jurate Kazickas - Laura Palmer is a contributor to the book)

Inspired by a conference which reunited many of these pioneering women.  Nine women reporters recount what their war in Vietnam was like: Tad Bartimus, Denby Fawcett, Ann Mariane, Jurate Kazickas, Kate Webb, Laura Palmer, Edith Lederer, Anne Merick and Tracy Wood 

From the Back Cover:  “This book is about our experiences as women reporters covering the Vietnam War from 1966 until the fall of Saigon, in 1975. Each of us has written a chapter about what we saw and felt in Indochina—our adventures, fears, excitement, and the difficulties and loneliness."

United States United Kingdom Germany France
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Canada      
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Shrapnel in the Heart : Letters and Remembrance from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Here is a collection of letters, essays, journals, and recollections that has made many a non-vet realize the great loss behind each name on the Wall.   I put this book at the top of anyone's reading list. In fact you could say it changed my life. Before seeing an dramatization of the book, I had not read anything on Vietnam and had no interest in the subject -sound familiar? 

United States United Kingdom Germany France

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Book Jacket Powell, Mary Reynolds
A World of Hurt : Between Innocence and Arrogance in Vietnam

A very good account by a nurse in Vietnam (Long Binh) in 1970.  This was not the same as pre-Tet Vietnam and is a valuable addition to the literature of the war.  Here you read about a wearying patient load due in part to drug overdoses. 

Powell includes the stories of seven of her friends, among them a dustoff helicopter pilot, an infantry captain, a Vietnamese aide, a drug counselor, and an emergency room nurse, who were with her in Vietnam.  April 2000  

United States United Kingdom Germany France

[paperback]

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Robertssen, Lowell
Remembering the Women of the Vietnam War

A collection of his poetry.

Published January 1991. [hardback] [paperback]


Rothblum, Esther D. and Ellen Cole, editors
Silenced Trauma: Twelve Feminist Therapists and Activists Respond to One Woman's Recovery From War

About a recovering alcoholic and Vietnam veteran with PTSD who was a Navy nurse. It is not about one patient with twelve therapists! Other than the woman's own therapist, the essayists are responding with the program each would suggest based on the case notes they were given. I found it quite interesting.[paperback]


Smith, Winnie
American Daughter Gone to War: On the Front Lines With an Army Nurse in Vietnam

One of a handful of books by a women who were nurses in Vietnam. Written from the perspective of a decade later, it is a hard book to put down. This is one you need to read.  It seens to be out of print, but you can check.  [paperback]

Talalay, Kathryn
Composition in Black and White: The Life of Philippa Schuyler

A pianist and composer at the age of four, Philippa Schuyler was often compared to Mozart. In the 1930s and 40s, she graced the pages of Time and Look and grew up under the adoring gaze of an entire nation. She was the role model and inspiration for a generation of African-American children, but as an adult she mysteriously dropped out of sight, leaving her fans to wonder what had happened to "that little Harlem genius."  This book tells about her incredible life which ended in a helicopter crash in Vietnam during the war.
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Canada  In Spanish Japan Austria
[hardback]
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Taylor, Sandra C.
Vietnamese Women at War : Fighting for Ho Chi Minh and the Revolution (Modern War Studies)

Jan. 1999


Thieman, LeAnn & Sandra Dey [author website]
This Must Be My Brother

On Operation Babylift.  "I thought I was going to Vietnam to escort 6 kids to their families in the U.S. Instead the Divine plan for me was to help bring out 300!"


Van Devanter, Lynda
Suggested Reading Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam - Reissued with a new preface by the author

A nurse's story. This is the book that made people realize there are women veterans too and they saw very rugged service. If you are trying to understand the war, this book needs to be on your list. Like so many memoirs of the war, the trip home is in the middle of the book, not on the last page. 

This republication is the first time it has been published in the UK.

United States United Kingdom Germany France

[paperback]

[paperback]    

Small PressVan Devanter, Lynda and Furey, Joan (editors)
Visions of War, Dreams of Peace : Writings of Women in the Vietnam War

A collection of poems by women who were "in-country." This anthology was put together to raise money for the Vietnam Womens' Memorial. It is still, unfortunately, the only anthology of poems by women who were in Vietnam. The quality of the work varies, but the feelings come through and some of the work is brilliant.   [paperback] [hardback]


Walker, Keith
A Piece of My Heart

A collection of interviews with women who were in Vietnam. I saw a stage production which was very effective. The problem with this book is the interviews appear to be unedited.  However there is so little material on the women, I do recommend this book.  It is powerful in spite of itself. [paperback]


Watts, Holley J.
Who Knew?  . . . Reflections on Vietnam

Small Press BookThis is a quirky memoir with pithy paragraphs describing a Donut Dolly's tour of Vietnam.  She describes the Clubmobile, dangerous trips via road and encounters with two alien cultures - the military at war and Southeast Asia.  The book is in an attractive format and is well illustrated with excellent photographs she took during her 1966-67 tour.

"Who Knew?..." is being used as part of the Jr/Sr class English curriculum at James Madison University  on the literature of Vietnam Longwood   University , Mary Baldwin College and The Virginia Festival of the Book have requested copies for their review as well as faculty members at the Universities of Southern Mississippi and California , Santa Cruz

Books are $25 each, that's 1st class mail and signed. 
 
Checks payable to:
 
J. Holley Watts
331 West Grace St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801.
 
Send name, address and your phone number to    or call, 540.433.3677 (h)

Wetterling , J.D.  [author's website]
Son of Thunder

A novel about a top gun F-100 pilot.  It is not autobiographical, but the author was a fighter pilot in Vietnam.  The story is set in 1968 and a romance with a nurse is part of the story.  The Amazon reader comments are quite positive.  A surprising number of books never get any comments, so it is quite a compliment. [hardback]
Books from the UK! [hardback from the UK]    germany.gif (1355 bytes) [hardback from Germany] 


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White, Ellen Emerson   {bibliography}
The Road Home

March 1995. This is a wonderful novel about an Army nurse who served during Tet and her return home. I think the author has done her research and it is extremely realistic reading.  It "fits" with what I have heard from women who were there.
[paperback]

Here is a review from Amazon that I could have written:
"I read this book two years ago and I liked it enough to not only remember it but to sit down and write a review for it. The Road Home is typically billed as a children's book; it isn't, not by a long shot. No matter how old you are, you'd have to be made of stone not to be affected by this book. Ellen White tells a story of the war in Vietnam as it was. She doesn't mince words and she doesn't turn the war into something wonderful and glory-filled. War is nothing short of hell, and you'll know that when you finish this book. After I read this, I had a new, deep respect for the soldiers that fought in Vietnam. I thought that every politician in the world needed to read this book - then maybe they would think twice about sending soldiers to war. Read this book. It deserves to be read. "


White, Helen

"What I Wanted to Do"

Lipstick and a Smile: One Nam Nurse Story

This is a very unusual and accomplished art book by a woman who served in Vietnam.   She has a style she terms "US Expressionism."  (One of her paintings is in the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum.)

The quality of the reproductions in the book is very good.  Each painting is accompanied by a paragraph musing about the inspiration for that particular piece.  Like any work about Vietnam that tells the truth, this is a difficult book.  I highly recommend it. 

I think this is an important book. There are very few artists that have published books dealing with Vietnam.

Order from  Caveners at 1-888-672-6656
or email greg@caveners.net


Small Press Book Wildwind, Sharon 
Dreams That Blister Sleep 
[website]

From the press release:

The book takes the form for a daily journal interjected with photographs she took herself and developed in an x-ray darkroom on site.

"My job is to keep solders alive from the Emergency Room to the door of the Surgery. My war is fifty feet of blue corridor," she wrote early in her tour of duty. "There is no going back to who I was before I came here. I don’t expect anyone back in the world to understand… I can’t afford to think about going home yet. It’s too far away. There are too many days and nights before I climb on the freedom bird." 

United States United Kingdom Germany France
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Canada  In Spanish Japan Austria
[paperback]      

 

Celebration of Patriotism and Courage.  Washington DC: Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project, 1993. 

A magazine prepared for the dedication of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial that includes essays by women who served in all categories, civilian and military.  An excellent resource, not to be overlooked.


Small Press Book Vietnam Women's Memorial: A Commemorative

Published January 1997.
This pictorial anthology includes a history of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project and excerpts from the dedication ceremony of the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C. on November 11, 1993. Much of the text is derived from the VWMP's Memorial Dedication Program. New material includes short biographies of civilian and military women who served during the Vietnam era, short original essays and poetry, and a montage of photographs.

There are some errors in transcription in the sections taken from the Dedication Program. The biographical sketches are divided into two sections, military and civilian. However, there are several errors of placement, with civilians appearing in the military section and vice versa. The biographees are not listed in the index, which includes only the authors of articles and original writing. Biographees are listed under their current last names with no cross references from their names at the time they served. As a result, looking for a specific person whose current name is not known requires reading through both sections sketch by sketch.

Because the publisher depended on voluntary submissions for all non-VMWP contributed material, the book does not represent all aspects of the service of women in Vietnam. The biographical sketches, most accompanied by then and now photos, give the book a high school/college yearbook quality. Nevertheless, the book succeeds in creating a montage of textual and visual highlights of the service of women during the Vietnam War. The contributed writings and photos, in particular, provide a glimpse into the war from the women's point of view and the emotional price many continue to pay.. [Thanks to Ann Kelsey for this review.]

Orders to: Vietnam Women's Memorial, Turner Publishing Company, PO Box 3101, Paducah, KY 42002-3101, or phone 1-800-788-3350, VISA and MasterCard. Price is $49.85 plus $5.00 shipping and handling.
Please mention you saw it on "www.illyria.com


Zeinert, Karen
The Valiant Women of the Vietnam War

Young adult book about the women who served in Vietnam that can be read by any age. Contains photographs and interviews.  Highly recommended.

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"My Mother Served" pin & Other Stuff
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Videos about women veterans

Look  through the music section for CDs that have tributes to the women who served.


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What does Suggested Reading mean?  It is just my very subjective list of the top ten books to read about the Vietnam War.  I list them here.

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Still can't find it?  Try Battleground Books
Used books and scarce first editions at reasonable prices.

My Vietnam Related Websites:
button Women in Vietnam ~ Read about ALL the women who served . . .
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam
button Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet

button Emily's Poetry ~ By a Red Cross Donut Dolly
button Shrapnel in the Heart ~ The most moving book you will read on Vietnam
button All About Vietnam    ~ An annotated bibliography of books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!
button Battle Dressing ~
button Project Hearts and Minds ~ Help put Viet Nam back together
button Photos from a Holts' Military History Tour ~ My trip to Vietnam, February 1998

My Other Websites:
Maybe Later . . . ~ My Creative Nonfiction
Irish in Korea ~ Irish men and women who gave their lives in the Korean War
Literature of the Korean War ~ Don't let the literature be forgotten
Samuel Pepys ~ One of my favorite authors
Chicago Theatre Z - A ~ This is the best theater town in the country!
Soccer Literature ~ I'm a fan and I read
O'Leary Lantern ~ Fire! Fire! Fire!
Gil Thorp ~ THE Coach (apologies to The General!)
Poetry of the First World War ~ Owen, Hardy and others
Chi-COW-go ~ Cowz plus Commentary (this used to be a cow town)
Graham Fulton, Scottish Poet ~ Charles Manson Auditions for the Monkees

Other Important Websites:
The Truth About Caroline ~ a  really good Young Adult book by my niece, Stacey M. Lane Grosh
Remember Oklahoma City ~  The Civil Service and Military will NEVER forget!

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Page last updated July 18, 2007

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