Vietnam era veteran assisted burn victims |

Vietnam era veteran assisted burn victims

Heidi RicePost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Patriotism has always been a big part of Vickie Price’s life.Her father and her uncles served in the armed forces, as did her brothers.And so it was natural for Price, who was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, to sign up with the U.S. Army when the time came. She served in active duty from 1969-71, during the Vietnam era.”It was like I had to get it out of my system,” Price said. “I did my basic training in Alabama and then was trained as a medic in San Antonio and went to the Fort Bragg (North Carolina) green beret training center.”Price did not serve overseas, but was stationed for a time at the Womack Army Hospital in San Antonio, which she says was one of the best burn centers in the country.

Her assignment included flying from San Antonio to San Diego to transport burn patients.”They were shipped home in caskets filled with ice,” Price recalled. “We called it the ‘Crispy Critter Run,'” she said bluntly.The injured patients were packed in ice while they were transported in the caskets, which helped reduce the impact of the burns.Price was also stationed in Oklahoma, where she worked on the maternity ward at a hospital.”My best time (in the Army) was my last year in Oklahoma working on the maternity ward,” she said. “It was wonderful because we were not dealing with sick people.”

She says the toughest part of her service was watching the U.S. Army go from the “old” Army to the “new” Army.”The officers were told they couldn’t yell, and discipline had to be cut,” Price said. “I didn’t like it. I thought the new Army was too coddling.”Though there were plenty of women in the Army at the time, Price said there were differences in the way women and men were treated.”We had rotations of things we would do, and if we were supposed to go to camp and the weather was really bad, they would say we couldn’t go,” Price said. The Army also did not allow women to be married while they were serving, although it was OK for the men.

“I got married and they kicked me out,” Price said. “So I couldn’t finish my full four years. Guys could be married. Back then, females couldn’t stay but the males could. That was wrong.”For the last several years, Price has served as the Garfield County election supervisor. But it is her service in the military of which she is most proud.Both Price and her late husband, Billy Price, a veteran who died in September, were always active in the American Legion and Veterans Day activities.”I loved it,” Price said. “Patriotism has always been one of the most important parts of my life.”Each Memorial Day, Price takes part in the ceremonies at Rosebud Cemetery, including the placing of flags on the graves of veterans.

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