“We Were Basically Counselors”: The Unintended Emotional Duties of “Donut Dollies” in the Vietnam War

Rose Campbell

Regis University Center for the Study of War Experience

Journal Issue:


Since the Red Cross frequently rotated SRAO women around to different American bases in South Vietnam, the women I interviewed [from the Red Cross’s Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO) program] did not serve at the exact same time or in the same locations. Their assignments, however, occasionally overlapped during their one-year placement. The oral histories interlace in intriguing ways that prompted me to analyze them collectively. Though each woman had a distinct narrative style, they conveyed similar types of affective experiences and memories. As my article demonstrates, emotions largely shaped their experiences in the SRAO program and influenced how they remembered them.

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