Meet with the New Yorker whom brought beers to their buddies into the Vietnam War

Meet with the New Yorker whom brought beers to their buddies into the Vietnam War

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In January 1968, Sergeant Rick Duggan did a double take when he saw their friend that is old “Chick” Donohue, standing in the front of him.

“Chickie!” Duggan exclaimed. “Holy sh-t! Exactly what the hell will you be doing right here?!”

He previously reason that is good be confused. Donohue ended up being a childhood buddy from ny, where they played together as young ones within the Inwood neighbor hood. But their reunion ended up being occurring in Vietnam, significantly more than 8,000 miles away. Weirder nevertheless, they certainly were appropriate in the exact middle of a combat area when you look at the Quang Tri province.

Donohue, then 26, had offered four years within the aquatic Corps, but he wasn’t currently enlisted. It was pretty apparent to any or all, offered their casual ensemble of blue jeans and a shirt that is plaid.

The thing that was he doing here?

“I brought you some beer that is great brand new York,” he told Duggan.

He ended up beingn’t kidding. As Donohue describes in the brand new memoir, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War” (William Morrow), co-written with Joanna Molloy, he lay out on a four-month odyssey through the height of just one of the very most unpopular wars them a cold — well, more like lukewarm — beer as a token of appreciation in US history, to find a half-dozen enlisted men from his neighborhood and hand-deliver each of.

The maximum Beer Run Ever by John “Chick” Donohue and J.T. Molloy

It had been a scheme that is crazy to such an extent that some of the soldiers he encountered in Vietnam thought him.

“Wait one minute,” one of Duggan’s fellow GIs within the Air that is 1st Cavalry Bravo business exclaimed after learning of Donohue’s mission. “You’re telling me you don’t have actually to be right here and you’re right here?”

His task ended up being certainly not simple. Finding Duggan involved chatting their means onto a few helicopters that are military fabricating a tale that Duggan had been their stepbrother, before finally tracking him down in the exact middle of an ambush patrol.

Donohue’s harebrained quest ended up being hatched a few months earlier in the day in nyc, in November 1967, at a now-closed Irish pub on Sherman Avenue called Doc Fiddler’s. Donohue and many other regulars had been viewing a news report about an demonstration that is anti-war Central Park. The bartender, nicknamed the Colonel, remarked towards the team, “Somebody ought to debate to ’Nam, track down our men through the community, and bring them each a beer!”

Donohue accepted the task. He loaded a duffel case saturated in US alcohol — brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schlitz — and landed employment as an oiler in the Drake Victory, a merchant ship taking ammo from ny to Vietnam.

Chick Donohue (far right) digs into rations with Rick Duggan (sitting other, with package in the front) along side people in their platoon in the 1st Air Cavalry’s Bravo business in Vietnam. Thanks to Rick Duggan

8 weeks later on, Donohue was at the center of a pugilative war area, with little to no to take nevertheless the names of a half-dozen community friends and obscure notions of the whereabouts, including in some instances their final understood coordinates.

He traveled from Qui Nhon to Khe Sahn, chatting his method onto convoys, army planes and helicopters, before showing up in Saigon right in the exact middle of the Tet Offensive, one of the bloodiest battles associated with the war. Just what he witnessed changed Donohue’s christian cupid views — not his respect when it comes to teenage boys whom sacrificed every thing, but their emotions concerning the conflict.

John Donohue today, at 80 years of age. Thanks to Rick Duggan

“I had thought that we had been winning,” the now-80-year-old writes, “because I’d thought what our leaders had been saying.” Just what he discovered ended up being one thing completely different, also among their old community buddies, that has a lot less self-confidence that the pugilative war would result in their benefit.

Donohue was able to find four individuals on their list, and their reunions that are beer-soaked them had been both emotional and cathartic. Donohue remembers viewing them while they “popped the cans open and … took their sip that is first of in a little while.”

The soldiers weren’t simply delighted for a style of their lives that are old but a reminder which they weren’t forgotten. As Duggan told him, “The reality which you turned up is, like, whoa, you will find individuals home who worry about us.”

All four for the neighbor hood vets that Donohue found are nevertheless reunited and alive for a Pabst Blue Ribbon video clip in 2015. Donohue fondly recalls going back to Doc Fiddler’s in ny in 1968, after finishing almost all of their mission, therefore the astonishment among the list of regulars he somehow pulled it well.

“The Colonel, whom never ever drank on duty, poured himself and everybody else an alcohol and raised it,” Donohue writes. “ ‘To Chickie,’ he said, ‘who brought our males alcohol, respect, pride — and love, goddamn it!’ ”

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