Donna Rowe, Celebrated Vietnam War Veteran, Speaks in NHS auditorium

By: Hannah Johnson

Donna Rowe is a veteran who served as a medic during the Vietnam War. She came to Newnan High School and spoke to the NHS history classes during the school day and at 6:30 she spoke in the auditorium to other NHS students as well as members of the community.

After being introduced by Mr. Steve Quesinberry, the Department Chair of the NHS History Department, Donna Rowe began speaking about her experiences in the armed service as well as a triage nurse

Mrs. Rowe began by explaining how the Vietnam War veterans belong to a longer line of veterans that have fought for their country, and she specifically was one of many generations who have actively served in the military since at least the Civil War.

She spoke about how her parents taught her love of country from a young age. When she was little her mother used to take her to put little flag on the graves of veterans.

When Mrs. Rowe was about to leave for Vietnam her mother stated to her, “Do the right thing and come home safe.”

As a triage nurse at the Third Field Hospital she was faced with many tough decisions that made her remember what her mother had stated to her.

One day when the hospital was swarmed with patients in high need, Rowe was given an order to take citizens of Vietnam as last priority. Above them would be American soldiers, Americans, allied forces and Vietnam soldiers.

The hospital received a call in that the helicopter would be bringing in a small infant, and Mrs. Rowe agreed to let them see the child. When the baby got to the hospital the medical staff was informed of the loss of the village that the baby lived in. The staff knew that this meant that the child had no one.

After getting this information about the infant Donna insisted on the Priest baptizing the baby so that when it was well it could be taken to a Catholic orphanage. While baptizing it, Mrs. Rowe stated that it would be named Kathleen, the name that her and her husband were to give their first daughter.

The baby got better and was given to the orphanage.

Many years after the war there was a group of veterans that were meeting at Kennesaw College to have a Huey helicopter land. When Mrs. Rowe went there, a person filming In the Shadow of the Blade found out about her story and asked her if she would like to be in the movie.

Mrs. Rowe and the other people who took part in the rescue of Kathleen all were able to meet us and reunite with Kathleen thirty years later. There is story is now in the movie In the Shadow of the Bade.

Four stories from the Vietnam War were chosen to be shown in the Smithsonian, and Donna Rowe’s is one of them.

Mrs. Rowe has been inducted into the Georgia Military Hall of Fame. Along with these places, Mrs. Rowe travels often speaking to people around the country about her experiences in Vietnam.