Barbara Hesselman Kautz, MSN, RN
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Barbara Hesselman Kautz, MSN, RN (Ret.) joined the Army to pay for her nursing education. A little more than four years later and with less than six months of nursing experience, she was assigned to the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh, South Vietnam. On the neurosurgical intensive care unit where she worked, she and her fellow soldiers fought for the lives of the wounded—and sometimes their sanity—with hard work and silly antics that included a mascot named Mighty Ralph. The rhythms of daily life at the 24th Evac have faded from Barbara's memory. What remains are distinct stories involving the patients, corpsmen, doctors, and her fellow nurses. Although the Vietnam Conflict serves as the backdrop for When I Die I'm Going to Heaven 'Cause I Spent My Time in Hell Barbara's stories of heroics, love, loss, despair, and even joy are timeless.
Barbara left the Army after three years, married a fellow Vietnam Veteran, and attended graduate school at the University of Cincinnati. For much of her nursing career she divided her time between clinical nursing practice and teaching Maternal Child Nursing. Now retired from nursing Barbara spends her free time singing, writing, knitting, and biking. She is a member of the Steering Committee for the York Chapter of the international service organization Dining for Women. An avid traveler, she has bicycled across the United States, and sung with Seacoast Community Chorus at many renowned venues including the U.S. Cemetery in Normandy and The Arche de Triomphe. She and her husband live in York, Maine where they raised their three children. An armchair World War II historian, Barbara's dream is to write about army nursing during the War.