MATURE SUBJECT MATTER, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: WEDU is honored to present the personal Vietnam War experiences of our local citizens. The stories presented here have not been edited and are presented as originally shared by the author. The content may contain coarse language, images, or remembrances that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
Annie C.’s Story
Shared on July 19, 2017
I was a Donut Dollie during the war and was stationed at Long Binh, DaNang, and Phu Bai in 1969-70. We were part of the Red Cross program to bring some laughter and stress relief to GIs in the field and sometimes in Service Clubs. We had to be single and college graduates, and signed up to serve for one year. We lived in BWQs of 4 to 12 on military posts, and traveled in pairs to base camps and remote firebases by jeep and helicopter, seeing those men who could be spared from their duties for about an hour once a week. We weren’t entertainers but we tried our best to be entertaining and help the guys forget about the war for a few short minutes. Our programs were pretty much trivia based within a theme that would interest young men between the ages of 19 to 21. So there were lots of challenges about sports, cars, movies, music. We also visited hospitals and hospital ships, and frequently gave out goodies from our ditty bags, which often included socks, combs, writing paper and pens, calendars, bandanas, and candy. Only at Long Binh did I ever “serve” donuts: On Saturdays at 4 a.m. we would hand out coffee and donuts to the men getting ready to drive out in the 2 and half ton resupply trucks. Their job was very dangerous, as many roads were mined and the trucks could take fire on the way.
All the Red Cross girls were motivated in some way to serve on the behalf of the men, most of whom were younger than us (average age was about 24) and away from home for the first time. We also went through the same adjustment problems on returning. But it was the signature experience of my life and I’m so glad I was there to do my small part. I’ve been to the Vietnam memorial twice in Washington and have also seen traveling walls. It still moves me today to know we lost so many wonderful boys there and that many others came back irretrievably broken.
The picture attached is my own display of memories of that one unforgettable year.
Sponsored in part by
Retired Officers’ Corporation at Freedom Plaza
Production Credits: THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington D.C. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward. Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.
Funding Credits: Funding provided by: Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; PBS; David H. Koch; The Blavatnik Family Foundation; Park Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; The Pew Charitable Trusts; Ford Foundation Just Films; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and Members of The Better Angels Society: Jonathan & Jeannie Lavine, Diane & Hal Brierley, Amy & David Abrams, John & Catherine Debs, Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, The Montrone Family, Lynda & Stewart Resnick, The Golkin Family Foundation, The Lynch Foundation, The Roger & Rosemary Enrico Foundation, Richard S. & Donna L. Strong Foundation, Bonnie & Tom McCloskey, Barbara K. & Cyrus B. Sweet III, The Lavender Butterfly Fund