“Some Good Days, Some Bad Days”: A WAC Serving In Vietnam

Claire Brisebois Starnes


Claire Brisebois Starnes enlisted in 1963 and served at Fort MacArthur, California, Camp Zama, Japan, and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 1969, she volunteered for duty in Vietnam, first serving as a translator before overseeing the publications section at Headquarters, MACV. She was initially stationed in Long Binh and subsequently in Saigon, although during the second part of her tour she traveled around the country extensively as a reporter and photographer for the MACV Public Affairs Office. Upon returning from Vietnam, she worked at the US Continental Army Command Public Information Office at Fort Monroe, Virginia, before leaving the Army to continue her work as a Department of the Army Civilian until her retirement in 1994. During her career, she continued to work in Public Information and revitalized several professional journals, including the Air Defense Artillery and Ordnance Corps journals. In 2006, she was inducted into the Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame. In this interview, she talks about her experiences in Vietnam with a small contingent of WACs (Women’s Army Corps). She addresses living conditions, her colleagues, and capturing the war on film. She discusses returning to the United States for her mother’s funeral, and the cultural atmosphere in the nation. Finally, she describes the impetus behind forming a Veterans Organization for the women who served in Vietnam.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Women in Service Writing the Soldier's Life Returning from War Camaraderie Civilians Courage Life After Military
interviewer David Siry
date 04 April 2016


name Claire Brisebois Starnes
service Signal Corps
unit Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Women’s Army Corps (WAC)
specialty Public Information Officer
service dates 1963 1973