Army nurse remembers struggles of war, not knowing fate of soldiers helped
Nov 8, 2023, 4:05 AM | Updated: 7:52 am
(KTAR News Photo/Ben Brown)
This is the fifth of seven articles highlighting the grand marshals of the 2023 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.
PHOENIX — Patricia Little-Upah comes from a military family.
“My mother was an Army nurse in New Guinea in WWII, my dad served in WWII in the Navy, both my brothers served in the Army,” Little-Upah said.
Little-Upah followed in her mother’s footsteps, becoming an Army nurse herself in 1966. She was deployed to Vietnam in 1968, and later served during Desert Storm in 1991 – a war she thinks doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
“I think people sometimes discount what the troops went though and the psychological impact leading up to that war, where we thought, they were going to use chemical weapons, we thought they were going to use nerve gas, in fact, we were told it was 100% certain,” Little-Upah said.
She found the most difficult thing as an Army nurse was never knowing the fate of the soldiers she helped care for.
“You treat these veterans, you treat civilians, but you don’t know what happens to them once they leave your hospital,” Little-Upah said. “You don’t know if they go back into combat, what may have happened to them and that can really take a toll on you.”
But caring for veterans doesn’t stop in battle, it continues when they come back home. Little-Upah does just that, as she serves on several boards dedicated to the wellbeing of veterans.
“I think just connecting them with the community resources that are available … and getting those veterans together, because they tend to feel very isolated when they come back, very alone,” Little-Upah said.
“Sometimes they feel like there’s no one that understands that they can talk to,” she said.
Little-Upah was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2014 and will be one of seven grand marshals honored in the annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.