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US Army nurse remembers the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans

"It was a privilege to be able to go," she said.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's not just on Memorial Day when Mary Tindall remembers the sacrifices of the fallen.

"It was a privilege to be able to go," she said.  She lived it as a nurse in Saigon helping some of the most severely injured.

"There's always been three patients I will always remember their names for some reason," Tindall recalled.

Navy Seal John Brewton was wounded in south Vietnam.  "His fiancée and his father were able to visit him while he was there hoping he would get better, but he died in January 1970," she said.

John Kotora was able to initially survive his injuries for three months before he was flown to Japan.

"He managed to be EVAC'ed to Japan and we found out he died there," Tindall told WHAS11.

Joseph Ragsdale became a Purple Heart recipient. "He was a head injury.  He was never conscious," Tindall said.

Tindall estimates 40 percent of her unit's patients never made it home alive.  Talking to their families after she returned home was something she says she couldn't find the strength to do.

"Maybe I feel like they would think badly of me because their child didn't survive when I was taking care of them," she said.

All these years later she still carries the weight of their loss knowing their families were concerned about what was happening half a world away.

"You didn't think about it while you were there unfortunately. I wish I had been more sympathetic to what was going on back in the States for them," Tindall said.

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Contact reporter Robert Bradfield at rbradfield@whas11.com.  Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. 

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