Thanks to Rich Morawa and Joseph Welsh
I’ve copied several pages from the magazine that I thought would be of equal interest to all Vietnam Veterans…Remember the “Donut Dollies”? They were American Red Cross employees, who went to forward areas, and on some bases, operated Red Cross Centers, similar to Service Clubs offering recording studios to listen and record cassette tapes from home, participate in BINGO, trivia or other “games” so us soldiers could forget about the war for a short period of time. The Service Clubs were staffed by DOD/NAF civilians, who worked only on bases (with rare trips forward). Special Services also operated craft shops where guys could do their own film developing, make jewelry, etc., in addition to running the libraries and being responsible for all of the books that were sent out to firebases and LZs. Donut Dollies were the most recognized women, after the nurses, because they had so much exposure. Unfortunately, it became the norm to refer to all American women with USO, Special Services and Red Cross to become referred to as “Donut Dollies”.
R&R was something most, if not all, soldiers in the Vietnam War were able to schedule. In-country three-day passes to Vung Tau, China Beach, Eagle Beach and Cam Rahn Bay among others were usually easier to get than the week-long trips outside of the country. To us infantry soldiers, in-country R&R was normally given as a reward – for something well-done by either an individual or a unit. It was always more fun to go as a group!
The PX’s in some of the main base camps throughout the country were like large department stores back in the states where most anything was available or items such as a new car could be ordered and paid for in monthly installments – waiting for him when returning home. New soldiers were introduced to the war zone PX’s at the reception centers and usually visited them whenever returning to the rear areas.
Entertainment was plentiful throughout Vietnam – touring bands usually played in the rear-area EM / NCO / Officer clubs and sometimes visited soldiers in the remote firebases. The most famous and most sought after of all shows was the Bob Hope Christmas Special, which played in several of the larger bases over the Christmas holiday period. However, these shows filled quickly and normally by those stationed on the base. Those of us in remote firebases or out in the bush couldn’t leave our positions to attend and had to settle for listening to it on the radio.
My second reason for choosing these particular pages was that they represented the GOOD times we had during our Vietnam deployment…to this day, I can still remember many of those happy memories! I hope this article does the same for you!
Unofficial Web Site Of The 71st Transportation Battalion In Vietnam
Please stop by and visit their website. It is filled with hundreds of personal photos from those veterans who had served in this battalion. There’s dozens of pages – each dedicated to one of these former soldiers…review the pics while their favorite song of the era plays in the background.
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I was Special Services at 3rd Field Hospital for 14 months. Evey self important person coming through TSN stopped here, lots of SS shows started at 3rd Field (from the Meyercord Hotel). The patients were thought of by MACV/MEDCOM- a library, movies, lots of pretty nurses.
These were the REAL AMERICANS, the ones that came to us, and not to the North, or lay in wait to spit on us when we came home.
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A few technical errors, but nice to see Special Services recognized, as well as the fact that, while everyone did not have the opportunity to enjoy the shows and facilities designed for recreation and relaxation, they were there and were able to provide some pleasant moments and memories for some.
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