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During the Vietnam War, commercial airliners along with their crews were chartered to fly U.S. troops into and out of combat zones. On flights out, the abrupt shift from war to peace was a difficult adjustment and flight attendants learned to treat the exhausted soldiers with great care and compassion. They were careful to avoid loud noises and touching the soldiers unexpectedly. Some of the soldiers were struggling with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and drug addiction. Flight attendants relied on each other and the soldiers aboard to manage difficult situations. Many soldiers wanted to talk to the flight attendants as a way of beginning to process their overwhelming experience. “I hoped that my listening helped make a difference for the soldiers,” says Pan American World Airways flight attendant Nancy Miller. She continued, “It was tough going. Sometimes my heart broke for the younger guys.” See “Flying the Freedom Birds: Airlines and the Vietnam War,” online at http://bit.ly/FreedomBirds

This post was tagged #freedombird and #avgeek and #veterans and #vietnamwar and #airlines and #airline and #crewlife and #MuseumFromHome

This image was posted on March 30, 2020.