A Retired US Marine Has Shared The Extraordinary Story Of How He Travelled From New York To Vietnam During The Vietnam War To Deliver Beers To Friends Serving In The US Army
A retired US Marine has shared the extraordinary story of how he travelled from New York to Vietnam during the Vietnam War to deliver beers to friends serving in the US Army.
John 'Chick' Donohue, now 79, set off by boat on his 8,000-mile, four-month journey in November 1967.
At the time he was 26 years old and had already served four years in the US Marine Corps.
Writing in his book, [ ], Donohue explains he had wanted to bring cheer to US soldiers serving in Vietnam, particularly in light of the growing strength of the anti-war movement.
Donohue tells how his journey led him to be caught in the middle of one of the Vietnam War's fiercest campaigns, the Tet Offensive, and how he was held at gunpoint by US troops suspicious of his presence in Vietnam.
The book is set to be adapted into a movie, starring Dylan O'Brien of Teen Wolf fame.
John 'Chick' Donohue, 79, recounted how he travelled 8,000 miles from New York City to Qui Nhon by boat just to deliver beer to his friends who were serving in the Vietnam War (pictured in 1967 on his trip to Vietnam)
Donohue, pictured with another soldier during his trip to Vietnam between 1967 and 1968
Retired Marine Donohue, kynghidongduong.vn pictured now, said the experience he had in Vietnam change how he viewed the conflict, and made him more sympathetic of anti-war protesters
Setting off for tour thác bản giốc Vietnam by boat, Donohue was armed with only beer, socks and a razor, as well as documents identifying him as a US Marine.
He made the decision not to tell his mother about his destination.
'I didn't dare mention Vietnam.
I had made last-minute dockside calls to her before, but this was different: for the first time, I was scared,' he writes.
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'When I had been to Vietnam before as a mariner, I hadn't ventured much out of port and into the interior. This time, I would, and I didn't know what I would find.'
The journey was made all the more difficult because Donohue had only a vague idea of where the 12 friends he wanted to find were based.
Donohue, pictured, recounted his adventure in his memoirs The Greatest Beer Run Ever
He encountered high-ranking Army officers who were suspicious of him and believed he was a CIA agent sent to infiltrate local Vietnamese communities and turn them against the communists.
Meanwhile troops were confused as to why he would volunteer to travel to such a notoriously dangerous war zone.
However Donohue did not escape the action completely. He recounts being caught in the middle of an overnight ambush attempt by the Viet Cong while he was with his friend Rick - one of the recipients of the beers.
'The NVA [North Vietnam Army] started firing machine guns.
Our guys returned fire. I kept really low in that hootch and I was getting ready to tun across that field. The firefight went on and on,' he writes.
After the night went quiet again, Donohue shared his thoughts: 'I have to admit, I was shaken.
'Everybody was up and on alert for the rest of the night, no doubt, praying for daybreak.
Finally, dawn came and Rick and his squad headed out with rifles drawn on the jungle.
'After a few minutes, they returned and picked me up. I don't know what they saw out there, but we ambled back inside the base perimeter in silence.'
Donohue (right) with his friend Ricky Duggan (left) and other soldiers after he delivered beer to them in Quang Tri Province in 1968
Two US soldiers stationed in Vietnam during the war, which lasted from 1955 to 1975 and saw an estimated 365,000 South Vietnamese civilians die
Later, moments before he was due to leave Vietnam, Donohue became caught up in the Tet Offensive.
The offensive took place in the early hours of Vietnamese New Years Day on January 30 1968.
It started with a series of surprise attacks by the North Vietnamese guerilla, who tried to overtake several US outposts in South Vietnam, including the US embassy.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS femail" data-version="2" id="mol-d71a4a40-4457-11eb-be78-add53f3449af" website tells how he delivered BEERS to soldiers during Vietnam War