Vietnam War First Responders: Medics, Corpsmen, and Nurses
Press Release · Monday, April 23, 2018

Washington, DC

On Thursday, April 26, 2018  at 7 p.m., the National Archives, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine, will present a panel of Vietnam veterans and historians to recount their experiences and explain the duties of medical personnel in Vietnam. This program is held in conjunction with the National Archives’ first-ever Vietnam War exhibit, “Remembering Vietnam.”

Register online to attend. Watch the program live streamed on the National Archives YouTube channel.

During the war in Vietnam, medics, corpsmen, and nurses were the “first responders,” performing lifesaving medicine—often with complete disregard for their own safety.  

Participating in the discussion will be:

  • Dr. Dale Smith, Professor of Military Medicine & History at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, who will moderate the discussion;
  • Ret. Col. Merle Snyder, who served in Vietnam with the 45th Medical Company as a DUSTOFF helicopter pilot;
  • Ret. Maj. Gen. Donna Barbisch, who served in Vietnam as an Army nurse at the 91st Evac Hospital;
  • Dr. Tom Berger, who served in Vietnam Navy Corpsman with the 3rd Marine Corps Division 3rd Recon Battalion;
  • and Ret. Col. Donald Hall, a veteran of the Gulf War and a medical support historian.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has been a center of information innovation since its founding in 1836. The world’s largest biomedical library, NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology. In addition, the Library coordinates a 6,500-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine that promotes and provides access to health information in communities across the United States.

The program is free and open to the public and will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC.   Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW.  Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. For those without reservations, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Theater doors will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the program. Late seating will not be permitted 20 minutes after the program begins.

Related Exhibit: “Remembering Vietnam: Twelve Critical Episodes in the Vietnam War”
On display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery through January 6, 2019
National Archives Museum
Explore 12 critical episodes in the Vietnam War from its World War II origins to the Fall of Saigon. These key events and turning points trace the policies and decisions made by the architects of the conflict, and the forces that drove them. Iconic and newly discovered documents, films, images, and artifacts along with insights from veterans, civilians, and historians shed light on the complex history of United States’ involvement in Southeast Asia.

For more information on the exhibit, visit Read about the exhibit in Prologue Magazine.

“Remembering Vietnam” is presented in part by the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, AARP, FedEx Corporation, and the National Archives Foundation. Additional support provided by the Maris S. Cuneo Foundation, The Eliasberg Family Foundation, Inc., and HISTORYⓇ.


# # #

For media inquiries, please contact: National Archives Public and Media Communications at (202) 357-5300 or via email at

Connect with the National Archives on:

Facebook logo icon Facebook: USNationalArchives

Instagram logo icon Instagram: usnatarchives

LinkedIn icon LinkedIn: usnatarchives

Threads icon Threads: usnatarchives

Tumblr icon Tumblr: usnatarchives

X iconX: @USNatArchives

YouTube iconYouTube: usnationalarchives


This page was last reviewed on April 24, 2018.
Contact us with questions or comments.