Serving With Dignity And Compassion: A WAC’s Tour In Vietnam

Gloria J. (Grenfell) Leigh


Gloria (Grenfell) Leigh joined the Army after two years in college. Her father had served in the Navy, and she felt that serving her country was a good deal. She recalls graduating from Basic Training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, and how proud her Drill Sergeant was of her platoon’s accomplishments. When she was twenty, she deployed to Vietnam in heels and a skirt, and landed under fire in Saigon. She served in Saigon for six months and at Long Binh for another six months. While in Saigon, she wore the Green Cords uniform of the WAC, but once she was stationed at Long Binh, she wore fatigues. While in Vietnam, she was assigned to escort Bob Hope and enjoyed meeting him. Returning home from Vietnam, she was shocked by the nastiness of the protestors at the Oakland, California, airport. After the war, she worked for Boeing in St. Louis, Missouri, and did not talk much about her service, recalling that when she retired after 30 years, people who knew her were shocked to learn that she had been in the Army and served in Vietnam. In this interview, she talks about her childhood, joining the Army, and her service in Vietnam. She remembers some interactions with the Vietnamese she worked with, as well as visiting a local orphanage. She also reflects on visiting an Army hospital and writing letters for wounded Soldiers. She recalls making life-long friends in Vietnam, and ends by describing what her service means to her.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Women in Service Vietnamese Courage Morale
interviewer Mark Franklin
date 25 August 2016


name Gloria J. (Grenfell) Leigh
service Women's Army Corps
unit United States Army – Vietnam, Office of the Adjutant General, Comptroller
specialty Clerk-Typist
service dates 1965 1968