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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
V.I.P. Member
Posts: 49
(5/17/01 4:11:49 pm)
| Del All “Surprise Visit”
During the waning days of 68.. we were in and out of the chops so much that we began to eat and sleep in them and under them..and to land in almost any wide spot for refit/mission or refueling….

Too many missions… even if they were short… they were tiring…..

We got word that Bob Hope was in country again… and maybe.. just maybe.. he might be close enough for us to go see the show..

HOT DAMN wouldn’t that be great..

I hear he has Joey Heatherton with him…

No… its…….

Well… that wouldn’t happen…

He deemed it “too dangerous” to travel up to the northwest I CORP…..

So we fell into a blue funk and keep working…..

Working always leads to forgetfulness…

It had been raining for some days now….

You know the kind…. the hard….. dark… COLD type of rain…..and for people used to 105 in the shade…. 69 degrees was COLD….NO FIELD JACKETS….

Our blue funk had turned into a black hearted bitch …..

One rather strange thing happened on that day….

Long about 2 in the afternoon… the sun came out.. but not hot…..

The sun did not create nasty bitter drenching fog nor steam…

Gosh…. it felt like …. well…… home……

Without warning it happened…….

Three chops were bearing down on us FAST… no radio contact……no nothing…

Two of them were Cobras…. and loaded…. HUGE amount of ordnance on them…. all HOT ready to shoot….one had an 11th Cav logo and the other an SF….

As soon as they landed….. our Cpt. & SGM are out to greet them……..

Words are exchanged……

The SGM comes back and says…”Everybody stand down… shut off the gear and rally at the chops…..”

We thought that we were to be pulled out and dump all the gear because we had to do that once before….

So we grab our rucks, canteens weapons & such and form a half circle around the chops…

Everyone was on their haunches because … well… we thought that we would need to get on them……

The engines shut off…… the rotors wind down…..

and out steps…….

Martha Ray……in a green beret……

Dead silence…

Now… I knew who she was…. as did all the older guys…

and SGM was beside himself.. was acting like a teenager about to get…. well …. you know…..

The younger ones didn’t seem to care….

She launches into her one woman act… comedy… songs…. mother asking her kids how there doing…..

Tension is gone… everyone is singing…. she brought beer with her… COLD FRIKKIN AMERICAN BEER!!!!!

An Hour passes and she says she has to move on… she is due at a SF DZ for the night….

Waves goodbye…. kisses the SGM on the cheek… he frikkin BLUSHES!!!!!

Chops rotor up …. Gunships are up circling to check the zones… and then they are gone…….

The sun is going down now….

Beautiful…. golden… warm (not hot)

NOW the young ones know who Martha Ray is, the old ones are in awe…..and we are ALL actually glowing!!!!!

The black hearted bitch is dead… the blue funk is banished….

Now…. it is not only the SF dudes that worship this woman……

She tours VN on short hops…. doing as many one & two hour shows as she can… and never in the big places like Saigon , Phu Bai, Da Nang etc…. she goes to the troops…..

I think I lost all respect for Bob Hope that day……

But I found a new goddess to worship…. four times my age…..

She is gone now….. I am not sure were she is buried…

But I know that .. somewhere there are SF dudes and few others that watch after her grave…. and cherish the one small short memory of her….

If you did not know her….. please watch some old movies and films of her WWII USO shows……..

Thanks for listening………..


Posts: 262
(5/17/01 5:00:31 pm)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”

Bob Hope nor anyone else could travel around as they wished. Permission was granted and the where to and where from and how long .


V.I.P. Member
Posts: 51
(5/18/01 8:34:32 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
Yes... true...however... Mr. hope had stated in the Army times... the stars & strips and several World papers that it was "just too dangerous" to leave III CORP....

Ms. Ray didn't seem to have that problem.....

Elmer & his review immediatly left I CORP for III CORP & they, also never came back....

Now... in all fairness... most of the really big bases/ports/air bases were not in the north.... Da Nang & Hue were certainly busy and could have supported such actions.... but I think Da Nang got one of two shows there ... but no where else...

Anyone have more or better info than this????

BTW... when did IV CORP get created????


V.I.P. Member
Posts: 28
(5/18/01 10:50:29 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
Martha Raye's grave is at the Military Cemetery in Fort Bragg; an honor bestowed on her by her beloved Army Rangers.

Martha Raye "Big Mouth"
b. August 27, 1916. d. October 19, 1994.
Actress / Comediane.
Fort Bragg Military Base, Fort Bragg, North
Carolina, USA
Specific Interment Location: Grave 780-B.
Cause of Death: Prolonged illness

P. Gary

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 52
(5/18/01 11:34:35 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
Thank you gorourke...

I Thought that she was at one of the bases but I never was sure.....

she was still alive when I left Bragg...(70)

and she died on my birthday.....

Thank you again....

Posts: 273
(5/18/01 10:40:15 pm)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”

Martha Raye was quite a lady. She had been wounded twice in combat actions.

Martha also wrote the Foreword to the book called "A Piece Of My Heart" by Keith Walker.

Thank You gorourke for posting the photo, very nice. - Hope

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 147
(5/18/01 11:18:31 pm)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
The story and the picture were both great. Thanks for sharing them.
Find what you're good at and stick with it!

Posts: 276
(5/19/01 12:22:45 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”

You have to remember who and what Bob Hope was. Actor, comedian, etc. He could state anything he wanted for the papers and I am sure they wouldn't have wasted time putting it into print. Just because he said something didn't make it so. He would have liked to have been able to have gone to a lot of places there and he was told no. Yes, he did get out of III Corp... You must also remember, these people were civilians, they were in the military care. Couldn't you just imagine the newspaper headings if something would have happened to them???? They were not exempt from a bullet.

Martha Raye was a different situation. She was in Nam off and on each year from 1965 to its end. she had not only entertained but also done nursing. What better combination could you find then that to help work with the wounded? I don't believe Bob Hope came close to her qualifications.


Senior Chief Moderator III
Posts: 192
(5/19/01 6:41:37 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
My Mother told me years ago about the time that she and several other women helped in selling War Bonds with Martha Raye during WW II. This particular time was in New Orleans...'42 or '43.

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 53
(5/21/01 9:44:50 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”

Ok... I will conceed your point.....

Copr6..... I understand that she was VERY active in selling war bonds.... as was Jimmy Derante & Jerry Colona (spelling?).... and many others, but I think that these three seemed to be seen together a lot....

To me, in my option... the class of those hollywood actors & actresses were a different breed and had real class.....

today's, with some not


Senior Chief Moderator II
Posts: 560
(5/21/01 10:28:24 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
Mithrandir.......very, very few who we'd all like to kick in the grill is Jane aka Hanoi Jane Fonda!

Posts: 176
(5/21/01 11:25:12 am)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
Martha should have been honored as one of this Century's Women

Posts: 87
(5/21/01 12:54:55 pm)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”

To leave her off the list and add that bitch.......damn
Geno G

V.I.P. Member
Posts: 103
(5/21/01 1:35:08 pm)
| Del Re: “Surprise Visit”
Bob Hope did indeed visit I Corps in the summer of 67. I didn't see him but I was in a nearby field hospital (Chu Lai) recovering when the big show was put on. Chu Lai had been rocketed more repeatedly. I could hear the laughter through my own pain and it was a morale builder. The guys who could walk told me all about it. (I'm OK now)I am told that there was massive cheering when one of the babes walked all the way across the audience area to go to the enclosed latrine. Probably the first time in history that a woman got cheered for urinating.

I also got to see Joey Heatherington! She showed up in I Corps with Les Brown and His Band of Renown for a half day show. She danced despite the scorching weather. There was also a gay man that showed up and danced for the troops. He got a big hand from the troops. After all - he had the guts to show up. Les Brown played a song called "Barney Google" which must have been a USO tradition and real oldie, the lifers loved it. All these USO folks were real troopers.

One guy that surprised all of us was Sebastian Cabot. He was a chubby character actor. He brought a tape recorder and a huge sack of tapes. You could record a message for your loved ones and he would mail it for you. Many of the grunts in my unit had trouble with reading and writing so this was a godsend. Given the casualty rate in I Corps, this was the last time some families ever heard the sound of their loved ones voice. Of the 14,000+ Marines that were killed in Vietnam 11,000+ were killed in that small triangle of blood. (the part of I Corps covering Chu Lai and Danang and west to the highlands) We lost most of our guys from the 196th LIB in the same area.
Mike H
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