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Martha Raye

“Colonel Maggie”

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Tribute To Martha “Maggie” Raye 
From “Doc” Dentice – Vietnam Medic

“MARTHA RAYE: VIETNAM CASUALTY
Martha Raye is the only Vietnam casualty in Hollywood, surreptitously blacklisted
as a warmonger for devoting ten years, on and off, working with medics under fire
in the field. She is a lieutenant colonel in the Green Berets, given an honorary
commission in 1964, which became official in 1967. She has made five qualified jumps
with Berets. She admires souvenirs and tokens of the war that hang on a wall in her home.”
7/27/79 WR Veterans.org

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. 

From SOF friend:
Martha Raye

Folks, Veterans and friends,

Martha Raye was a true blue American HERO if there ever was one !
God Bless Martha Raye !
Tom Foster & at least 2.7 million other Patriots..

The following is from an Army Aviator who takes another 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 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 special forces ‘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 will 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 ‘Caduse’ which means I am a Nurse, with a surgical speciality….now, take me to your wounded. He said, yes mam’… 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

Martha is the only woman buried in the Special Forces cemetery at Ft. Bragg .  Hand Salute.  Pilots of America.com

Known as “The Big Mouth” and considered the female equivalent to Bob Hope, Martha Raye was an American icon in her own right.

She was born Margy Reed in Butte, Montana, to Maybelle Hazel (Hooper) and Peter Reed, Jr., vaudeville performers. She had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Raye made her acting debut before the age of 10 as she toured the nation with her parents variety show “Reed and Hopper”. In her late teens she was hired by band-leader Paul Ash as his lead vocalist and was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout during a New York City concert in 1934. She soon relocated to Hollywood were she began making a name for herself appearing in a string of successful screwball comedies alongside the likes of Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, W.C. Fields, and Joe E. rown.

With the outbreak of World War II she took a break from film making to focus on entertaining servicemen and women traveling with the USO on many tour stops. She soon became even more famous for her dedication to America, its values, and its soldiers which helped earn her the beloved nickname “Colonel Maggie”.

She continued acting into the late 1980s dividing her time between movies, TV guest spots, and occasional stage appearances. She passed away on October 19, 1994 after a long battle from pneumonia and was buried with full military honors at the Fort Bragg Main Post Cemetery, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Martha “Colonel Maggie” Raye was 78 years old.

Note with bio below.

“Colonel Maggie,” Martha Raye, was an honorary member of the Special Forces. She had received her prized Green Beret and the title of Lieutenant Colonel from President Lyndon B. Johnson, himself, togetherweservedtribute

Martha Raye

Known as “Colonel Maggie , of the Boondocks” by her many military friends, Martha Raye (born Margaret Teresa Yvonne Reed on August 27, 1916) died October 19, 1994. Congress passed a bill allowing Martha Raye to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. She said “I don’t want to be in Arlington. I want to be buried at Fort Bragg with my biys (as she called Special Forces Soldiers). Raye is buried in the military cemetery at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as she requested in 1992.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

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