Sandra Lockney signed up for the U.S. Army’s Special Services Program in 1964 when she was twenty-three. She did a one-year tour in South Korea with the U.S. Army’s Special Services, and a second tour in Vietnam in 1967-68. So, What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? Seoul to Saigon: Personal Essays (CreateSpace, 330 pp., $21.95, paper) is Sandra Lockney Davis’s memoir that centers on those two tours of duty.
As for Vietnam, she writes: “Regardless of how you felt about the war, we were all in this together; everyone focused on getting the job done and going home, ‘back to the World.’ We all worked for the same boss, the U.S. Army, and everyone worked 12- to 18-hour days. Any time off was spent frantically trying to have fun, to forget where we were, and how long we had to be there. No one talked about not making it home. Everyone just lived as though we might not. I didn’t want to get too attached to anyone because one of us might not be there the next day and others felt the same way.”
This is a readable, dialogue-filled book, replete with lots of photos of the author in Korea and Vietnam, along with cartoon illustrations by Terri Zuber. Ann Kelsey, who also served with Army Special Services in Vietnam in 1969-70, provides a short introduction and, in a postscript, a longer look at women volunteers in civilian-staffed recreation programs in Vietnam.