Local veteran reflects on service this National Vietnam War Veterans Day
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee VA held a private ceremony Tuesday, March 29, to commemorate National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
CBS 58's Michele Fiore visited with one veteran who has been recognized as Milwaukee County's Veteran of the Year.
Her name is Ruby Scheuing. When she was 21, she was a nurse working at a hospital in Illinois, but she felt a strong pull to leave, use her skills and help wounded soldiers in Vietnam.
"And my mom was not happy with me at all. She said, well you can't do that and I said yeah mom, I can, and I already did," said Scheuing.
The year was 1967. Ruby Scheuing signed on the dotted line.
"So I just walked into a recruiting office and said I'd like to volunteer to go to Vietnam." Said Scheuing.
Leaving behind a worried father and mother, communication back home was difficult.
"So you know, 'hi mom, over.' 'Hi Ruby, over,'" said Scheuing.
Scheuing's got scrapbooks full of photos of a time she'll never forget.
"I was welcomed at three in the morning by my head nurse, who told me I was excess. So I didn't really know what that meant," said Scheuing.
Turns out they did need another registered nurse.
"The casualties that came to my hospital were directly from the field, treated first by combat medic, put on choppers, flown to the hospital. Then we had core men that brought them down. They were triaged and those that needed surgery would immediately go into the operating room and I took care of them when they came out of the operating room," said Scheuing.
"They literally counted extremities -- arms, legs, and then the first question they always asked was where's Joe? Where's my friend? Where's my buddy? And we didn't know. If they didn't come on that same chopper we had no idea where they were."
Heartbreaking, but rewarding, knowing she was serving her country.
"I was there for the soldiers and they were such tough guys. They didn't whine. They didn't moan. They didn't, they just wanted to get better," said Scheuing.
Scheuing attended the Milwaukee VA's ceremony on this National Vietnam War Veterans Day, where prayers were said and wreaths were laid. She encourages veterans from wars post-Vietnam to reach out to the older generation.
"And many times they talk about it with their buddies and you know, it helps because everybody doesn't understand, because they weren't there and they don't know what it was like to be shot at. They don't know what it's like to step on an IED and I think it's important that they, that we make more of an effort, as Vietnam veterans, to bring them into the circle," said Scheuing.
Scheuing met her husband in Vietnam. They even got married there.