"All American Veterans"

As written by Master Sargent, Bennie McDonald ( Green Beret, retired)

Background music is "The Ballad of The Green Beret" by Barry Sadler.

Martha Raye

Aka

Colonel Maggie

Margaret Teresa Yvonne Reed was born in Montana on August 27, 1916. She later became known as Martha Raye.

According to the stories, which traveled around Special Forces, Colonel Maggie was not formerly trained as a Registered Nurse. She received very much On-the-job training from Special Forces Medics and possibly others, including Doctors.

Colonel Maggie actually made five qualifying parachute jumps from an aircraft while in flight and was awarded the cherished Parachute Wings, which she wore proudly.

Martha Raye was awarded the title of (honorary) Lieutenant Colonel by President Lyndon Johnson. She was also given the Green Beret which she was very proud of. She always wore it while in uniform, at least anytime that I can remember seeing her in person or on film.

Colonel Maggie was given this name by members of the military. She was adored by the troops. She visited the troops in Vietnam often staying for months each time. I suppose many of these months were spent with Special Forces where she came to admire these troops. She willingly went to Vietnam to entertain the troops and not because she was paid to do so. In fact she would pay her own expenses. I understand that she was “black listed” by Hollywood. None the less she would still make the long trip to be with those which she loved so very much.

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Academy Award*

I had gone to Saigon to visit a friend, a First Sergeant, who was assigned to a Helicopter unit near there. I met another Special Forces trooper on the way. We went to a club for lunch then on to meet my friend. He said that he would always give me a place to sleep when I would come to see him. When we arrived he assigned us to escort Col Maggie for three days. Our orders were simple; DO NOT LET HER GET KILLED OR CAPTURED. We were her body guards and the helicopter took her wherever she wanted to go.

This is Colonel Maggie and (then) SSG Bennie R. McDonald (me) taken sometime during the summer of 1967, in Saigon.

Her home in California became known as the “Team House”. She, personally, invited the other escort and me to visit her at her home. I was never in that state at the same time that she was. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, all Special Forces Troops received this invitation. I honestly do not know if other troops were also invited. I can only imagine that they were.

Colonel Maggie requested to be buried on Fort Bragg, NC. Her body was transported to Fort Bragg after she died on October 19, 1994.

Her body was taken to her final resting place by Special Forces Troops.

The writing above is from my memory with some help from Wikipedia.

For more information on Colonel Maggie click on the following;

"MARTHA RAYE"

MAGGIE

"COLONEL MAGGIE"

Bennie R. McDonald

Master Sergeant, Retired

U.S. Army Special Forces

"Under construction."


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