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“In The Shadow Of The Blade” – Saving “Baby Kathleen”

The 2004 documentary In The Shadow Of The Blade follows the journey of a restored Vietnam War UH-1H Huey across the United States to document the stories of Vietnam veterans and their families. These stories provide an extraordinary opportunity for understanding and healing, which for decades, alluded those who served in Vietnam.

Among the stories told in the film, one stands out as a lesson in hope, persistence, and “doing the right thing.” It’s the story of “Baby Kathleen,” the South Vietnamese infant who survived against all odds. Without the servicemen who found her in the arms of her dead mother, the helicopter pilot, and servicemen who flew her to a field hospital, and without the doctors and nurses who tended her wounds, Baby Kathleen would be yet another civilian casualty of the Vietnam War.

Georgia’s own Donna Rowe tells the story of “Baby Kathleen” in the documentary. Donna served as the triage nurse captain at the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon during 1968-69. One day, a helicopter radioed they had a severely wounded infant on board. As there were other hospitals in Saigon and the triage room was overflowing with wounded, Vietnamese civilians were last on the triage list. Despite protocol, Donna made a decision to take in the wounded baby girl.

Not sure the infant would survive, she buttonholed a Catholic priest on the way to surgery, demanding he baptize the baby. Making do with water from a spigot, and with Donna, and the two men on the gurney’s sides as witnesses and God-parents, the priest baptized the girl, Kathleen Fields. Donna chose the name Kathleen from a song her father used to sing to her, and Fields for the name of the 3rd Field Hospital.

Baby Kathleen survived her wounds and stayed at the 3rd Field Hospital – again against the rules – until an American soldier wanting to adopt Kathleen cut through the red tape and bureaucracy to do so. “Kathleen” made her way to the United States to live with her adopted family.

Thirty-three years later, Donna told “Kathleen’s” story to a reporter whose article led to finding “Kathleen” in California, Donna met “Kathleen,” her adoptive parents, and her children. They remain friends today.

Sid Orr tells the story of a man walking along a beach where thousands upon thousands of starfish had washed ashore. He sees another man picking up a starfish and throwing it back into the sea. The man continues, one-by-one throwing starfish back. The man walking along the beach asks the other, “what possible difference can you make. Look at all these starfish.”

The other man picked up a starfish and tossed it back into the ocean and said, “Made a difference to that one.”

Among the wounded and dying of the Vietnam War, Donna Rowe and her colleagues made a difference to “Kathleen.”

 

References:

Huey picture courtesy David Whitworth

Terry Garlock – “The Story of baby Kathleen,” The Citizen -November 19, 2015

Laura Raines – “Memories of an Army nurse,” Atlanta Journal Constitution – June 11, 2011

 

Oct 6th – 3rd Annual Veterans Appreciation & Education Day, Murphy NC

The Tunnel Rats returned to the Band of Brothers Veterans Park in Murphy, NC, to perform from 12:45 to 1:45 for the 3rd Annual Veterans Appreciation & Education Day hosted by the Cherokee County (NC) School System and Sheriff’s Department.  If you are ever in the area, you want to visit this amazing Veterans Park.

Location:

Band of Brothers Veteran’s Park 430 Carriage Lane Murphy, NC 28906

Program Schedule:

  • 10:00 AM – Presentation of colors, Prayer, Pledge, National Anthem, opening remarks
  • 10:30 to 11:45 – Rogers Family Gospel Band
  • 11:00 ish – Grilling hamburgers and other goodies
  • 12:00 Noon – Parachute Jumpers
  • 12:45 to 1:45 – The Tunnel Rats Band  <– NEW TIME
  • 2:00 to 3:00 – Hayes Family Gospel Band

Nov 3rd – Giving Thanks for Those Who Served, United Military Care, Marietta, GA

Banner for United Military Care - Giving Thanks for Those Who Served

The Tunnel Rats will perform for the United Military Care event, Giving Thanks to Those Who Served, from 11:00am until 1:30pm at the United Military Care facility, 1220 Old Canton Rd, Marietta, Georgia 30062.

This is a free event. Donations of new hats, scarves, gloves, and ponchos for homeless Veterans are appreciated.

Join us for hamburgers and hotdogs prepared by our very own Vet-Chefs while you listen to great musical entertainment. You have the chance to sit and talk with Veterans from World War II through Present Day and show thanks for everyone that has served! Donations of new hats, scarves, gloves and ponchos will be accepted to help homeless Veterans over the winter months.

Colonel Al Rowe Memorial Holiday Food Program

The mission of the Georgia Vietnam Veterans Alliance (GVVA) Chapter One:

To provide quality services and support, based upon the concepts of self-esteem and self improvement, to Vietnam veterans throughout the State of Georgia that will enhance and enrich their lives and the lives of their families.

The Georgia Vietnam Veterans Alliance Chapter One, Marietta GA, raises money each year to fund the Colonel Al Rowe Memorial Holiday Food Program. For over 12 years, this program has served over 3,500 Active Duty, Guardsman, Veterans’ families, disabled Veterans and their widows, with utilities and living expenses.

In 2006 at the beginning of the war of Iraqi Freedom, Colonel Al Rowe, GVVA Chapter One president, 2001-2006, and the GVVA board recognized an urgent need of active duty military families.  Lower ranking military personnel were struggling with minimum military pay while serving during the war, leaving some unable to afford a holiday meal for their families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. To answer the need the GVVA Chapter 1 established the Holiday Food Program.

As the GVVA became more involved they realized the need spread into the vast veteran community in Cobb County and beyond.The Holiday Food Program is now directed in coordination with the Command of Dobbins Air Reserve Base of the U.S. Air Force and the Georgia National Guard to identify the families that need assistance with food during the holidays. Over the past 12 years, the Holiday Food Program has helped feed over 3,000 families who has a member actively serving our nation or state.  The Holiday Food Program has also assisted needy veterans with food, utilities, or living expenses.

Upon Colonel Al Rowe’s death in 2014, the GVVA Board of Directors  renamed the program in his his honor for his dedicated service to the veterans and the military families in our community.

For more information contact:

Georgia Vietanam Veterans Alliance, Chapter One
PO Box 669215
Marietta, GA 30066
http://www.gvva1.com

President: Al Heflin
Vice President: Bob Humphries
Secretary: Kathy Collar
Treasurer: John Bevich

Sept 2nd 10:00am – Heritage Festival in Blairsville

The Tunnel Rats performing at Vogel State Park, Blairsville, GA. August 26, 2017
The Tunnel Rats, Blairsville, GA. August 26, 2017

The Tunnel Rats Band performed at the Annual Heritage Festival in Blairsville, GA September 1st, and 2nd.  They enjoyed jamming at the Seasons Inn on Friday night, and outside The Hole In The Wall – a local eatery – on Saturday and Sunday.  The band took the stage at the Heritage Festival on Sunday morning at 10:00 am.

“We know we have hit the mark when someone in the audience takes the time after the show to come up to members of the band to say thank you, and share how the songs touched them.”

Heritage Festival

Nov 6th – A Music and Movie Tribute to our Veterans, Cobb Civic Center, Marietta GA (General Admission $10)

Join the Tunnel Rats Band to help support our Veterans! The Tunnel Rats will be performing at the Jennie T. Anderson Theater for the GVVA Fundraiser: A Music and Movie Tribute to our Veterans – See the details below.

GVVA Event November 6

 

 

Reserve your seat:

General Admission: $10.00
Veterans and Seniors (62+): $5.00
Children 12 and under: Free


Company Sponsorship

The Georgia Vietnam Veterans Alliance, Chapter 1, is seeking Company Sponsorships to benefit the Colonel Al Rowe Holiday Food Program

Download Company Sponsorship Form: Music and Movie Tribute to Our Veterans – Donation Form


Sponsorship Request Letter:

August 20, 4:00pm to 6:00pm – Purple Heart Cruise Fundraiser at Semper Fi Bar and Grille

The Tunnel Rats performed at the Purple Heart Cruise Fundraiser on Monday, August 20, 2018, from 4:00pm – 6:00pm at Semper Fi Bar & Grille.

The Purple Heart Cruise is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds giving wounded service men and women respite from their long journey through injury and rehabilitation.

The cruise invites wounded warriors and their caregivers get away, if just for a week.

Join us, other veterans, and the community in supporting this worthy cause.