Huntington, West Virginia
U.S Army, Nurse Corps
Service: April 1967 – April 1968
Elizabeth Allen graduated from Ohio State University with a Masters in psychiatric nursing. With a brother serving in Vietnam, Allen turned her back on a potentially profitable career within the medical profession stateside and instead joined the Army to help men like her brother. Captain Allen requested frontline duty and was assigned to the remote 12th Evac Hospital at Cu Chi where the constant stream of wounded was a gruesome introduction to the realities of war. In the winter of 1967, Allen transferred to another field hospital in Pleiku, which would soon come under attack during the Tet Offensive. Donning a helmet and flak jacket, Allen watched as a rocket tore through the roof of an operating room at the hospital. She heroically dashed out into the night, amid the falling bombs to try to save the lives of those caught in the explosions. In April of 1968, Allen completed her tour in Vietnam but went on to serve 14 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. She was then appointed by Governor James Blanchard to the Michigan Agent Orange Commission, where she served five years – three as the Chair. She has also consulted with the Veterans Administration on the care of African American and women veterans in the areas of post-traumatic stress and exposure to Agent Orange.