There are a lot of young people who have never heard of Martha Raye. But for those of you who remember the funny lady with the large mouth may end up just dropping theirs (mouth) when they read this about her. Scroll down
The following is from an Army Aviator who takes a trip down memory lane: “It was just before Thanksgiving ’67 and we were ferrying dead and wounded from a large GRF west of Pleiku. 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 sad pax’s, a ‘Smart Ass’ USAF 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’ 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.
Martha Raye is the only woman buried in the SF (Special Forces) cemetery at Ft Bragg.