Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remembering Colonel Maggie (Martha Raye)

We Old Timers in the Special Forces Community have the privilege and honor of remembering Maggie. Colonel Martha Raye, for the less privileged.

One Account of Col Maggie: I had the honor of closing the FOB2 Club two years in a row (67/68 and 68/69) with her, during our New Years Eve Celebration. The first time as a guest of the command, while on loan, during bad weather in our usual A/O. The second time as the First Sergeant of the Security Company, when we had to "rescue" Maggie from the 4th ID unit, near our Yard Camp.

The next encounter, which busted, was in 1971/72; when Maggie was making a "tour of the SF Posts". She was due in sometime in April, I think it was, and due to our history, I was "elected" to be her "escort" while she was in our A/O. However, that was the time when "Maggie" had, one of her medical attacks that took her life some time later.

Maggie was without a doubt one of the guys. Just, for your own safety, never get on the bad side of her, as did that Captain in Pleiku. She had no problem in "taking charge" in any given situation, that needed it. She was a Lady, One of the Guys, a Singer, and one of the best entertainers ever. Maggie was also One of Us, who wear the Green Beret, and as commented, she is the only female civilian to be buried in our Cemetery at Fort Bragg, NC, "Home of the Green Berets". "An' a Tip O' the Beret to Ya, Lady"

Another rememberance of Maggie:

Most of the old time entertainers were made out of a lot sterner stuff than today's crop of activists and whiners.

It was just before Thanksgiving '67 and we were ferrying dead and wounded from a large GRF west of Pleiku , Vietnam. We had run out of body bags by noon, so the Hook (CH-47 CHINOOK) was pretty rough in the back.

All of a sudden, we heard a 'take-charge' woman's voice in the rear. There was the singer and actress, Martha Raye, with a SF (Special Forces) beret and jungle fatigues, with subdued markings, helping the wounded into the Chinook,
and carrying the dead aboard. 'Maggie' had been visiting her SF 'heroes' out 'west'. We took off, short of fuel, and headed to the USAF hospital pad at Pleiku. As we all started unloading, our Captain said to Martha..
... "Ms Ray, with all these dead and wounded to process, there would not be time for your show!"

To all of our surprise, she pulled on her right collar and said....."Captain, see this eagle? I am a full 'Bird' Colonel in the US Army Reserve, and on this is a 'Caduceus' which means I am a Nurse, with a surgical specialty....now, take me to your wounded." He said, "yes ma'am.... Follow me."

Several times at the Army Field Hospital in Pleiku, she would 'cover' a surgical shift, giving a nurse a well-deserved break.

1 comment:

  1. I know that she insured the homecoming of some of my brother's troops. If not they were my husband's. I've been a nurse for over 40 years now; she was always one of my heroes...


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