Although largely unknown to the American public, American Red Cross national staff were assigned to Viet Nam to serve the soldiers, sailors and air personnel stationed there.
Like them, most all members of the Red Cross's Service to the Armed Forces pulled a one year assignment and some did more than one. In addition, hundreds of the so-called “Donut Dollies”, young women fresh out of college also served a year in that country, almost always under unsafe and sometimes harsh conditions. My office was on the northern perimeter of Long Binh and we covered several sub-stations. We were unarmed in accord with Red Cross principles but wore jungle fatigues like everyone else with the Red Cross insignia on our arm rather than a military organizational patch. Five ARC staff were killed in Vietnam during the war and are remembered by those of us who served. I used to occasionally go to Vung Tau down on the coast in my CJ5 Jeep, see the stacked bodies of Viet Con along the roadside and realized we could never “win” the war in the usual sense. But our nation knows how to turn things around and now many former GI’s return to Vietnam for a look at that former battleground, where so many lost their lives, and observe the relationship between two former combatant nations.