Remembering and Acknowledging Our “Donut Dollies” of the Vietnam War

American Snippets Monsoon Monday

I just recently read and saw a picture of President O’Bama, presenting the Nations highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom to VP Joe Biden, who honestly stated, that he didn’t deserve it, but I know who does!

This award has also been presented to actors, singers, sports figures and basically, most of the Hollywood elite. What contribution made by these people to us, other than their personal wealth made with their profession I am not sure, but it reeks of hypocrisy.

Remembering and Acknowledging Our “Donut Dollies” of the Vietnam War

donut dollies When I first arrived in Okinawa, Vietnam bound in 1965 with 3/9, I disembarked from our troop ship, the USS Billy Mitchell, an old APA from World War II and was welcomed on the dock by blue dressed young ladies, with a Red Cross patch on their sleeve and all of them quite beautiful to the eye of this 18 year old Marine. I was given a cup of coffee and a doughnut with a beautiful smile and I was quite taken by these volunteers who were representing the Red Cross Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas (SROA) Program. Motivated by JFK’s call to serve, these young single female college graduates began to serve in overseas assignments where our troops were stationed.

Our unit was the first to disembark in Da Nang, Vietnam, and once again, we met more “Doughnut Dollies” in a combat zone, handing out doughnuts and coffee on the Da Nang Air Base.

The primary purpose of their mission statement, I was to learn years later, was to increase the morale of donut dollies our troops stationed overseas and bring a little bit of home life to those deployed. I lived it during my two tours in Vietnam, 65-65, 69-71. These beautiful volunteers provided us with a bit of home, and we jokingly but reverently called them “round eyes.” They provided coffee and doughnuts for sure but also listened to our stories of family back home, played dominoes and board games in rear areas and just made you feel special as they brought a little bit of America to this far off and distant land reeked with death and suffering.

It was not just in the rear areas where they brought their love, understanding, compassion, and morale building, but they could also be found on Fire Bases, Landing Zones and forward combat areas, often enduring incoming rockets and shell fire. They were courageous and determined to bring a few moments of very brief happiness to battle worn and exhausted troops in the field. They endured what “mud Marines” and “Doggies” endured, the month-long Monsoons, unshowered, the heat, the bugs and creatures, the horrible Korean War C-Rations and the never-ending fear of engagements and of being under fire.

They were “one of us,” and even today, their service and sacrifice, has been all but ignored by all Administrations, past and present, where they now have quietly blended in with their communities, moving on with their lives. Many, it must be noted, not only suffered the hardships of our frontline troops but suffer from PTSD and Agent Orange, where their claims are not even recognized by our Veterans Administration.

donut dollies The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award for contributions to our nation, must be awarded to those “Doughnut Dollies,” whose Patriotism, Service and Sacrifice, should never go unrecognized and whose service to our nation, far outweighs most of those receiving this heralded award today.

I am proud to be friends with many of these heroic women and hope someday, that they will receive their just and long overdue rewards.

Google “Donut Dollies” and learn more about these extraordinary women and their selfless service to our troops and our nation.

Ooooorah and Semper Fi.


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donut dollies, medal of freedom, monsoon monday, vietnam veterans

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