USO and Nurse – Martha Raye

Maggie's tour truck

Maggie’s tour truck

Martha Raye was a Vaudeville born actress, comedian, and movie star that was known for bold comedy. She was named “The Big Mouth”, not only because of her comedy, but for the physical trait.

Politically, Raye was conservative, affirming her political views by informing an interviewer, “I am a Republican because I believe in the constitution, strength in national defense, limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility as the concrete foundation for American government. They reinforce the resolve that the United States is the greatest country in the world and we can all be eternally grateful to our founding fathers for the beautiful legacy they left us today.”

Beginning in WWII, Raye started a lifelong commitment to entertaining and assisting the troops overseas. She worked with them during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Some nights she would do shows, but other nights, she’d skip the show because she’d been assisting the soldiers all day and wanted to continue into the night. A former nurse, she worked with Medivac units and in field hospitals. She often served in remote areas with Special Forces.

Raye wore fatigues and the troops called her “Colonel Maggie”.

Raye was an honorary Colonel in the Marines, and President Lyndon B. Johnson made her an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Special Forces as well. The Green Berets have a special place in their hearts for her.

Miss Raye in Vietnam, from the Robert Boyd Jr. collection

Miss Raye in Vietnam, from the Robert Boyd Jr. collection

In 1993, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The text included reads:

A talented performer whose career spans the better part of a century, Martha Raye has delighted audiences and uplifted spirits around the globe. She brought her tremendous comedic and musical skills to her work in film, stage, and television, helping to shape American entertainment. the great courage, kindness, and patriotism she showed in her many tours during World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam Conflict earned her the nickname ‘Colonel Maggie.’ The American people honor Martha Raye, a woman who has tirelessly used her gifts to benefit the lives of her fellow Americans.

rayemartha

Raye was offered a place at Arlington National Cemetery upon her death, which is a high honor, but Raye wanted to be with her beloved Green Berets. A very special exception was made for her and she was buried at Ft. Bragg, home of the Green Berets, with full military honors. She is the only civilian buried on post that receives full recognition of military honors on Veteran’s Day.

###########################################################################

 Military Humor – Nurse’s style ___

Pee all that you can pee.

"What a temperature! What a pulse!" [gee- I wonder why?]

“What a temperature! What a pulse!”
[gee- I wonder why?]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They even had their own magazine

YR078ArmyNurse

 

#######################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Signe Anderson – Garski, ND; US Army Nursing Corps, Korea

US Army Nurse insignia

US Army Nurse insignia

Margaret Ann – Dover, DE; US Army Nursing Corps, Korea

Marcella Buckalew – Dallas, TX; US Navy Nursing Corps, USS Solace

Lynn Conrad – Wichita, KS; US Army, Nurse

Ruth Criswell – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, CBI, Nurse

Marjorie Markert – Columbus, OH; US Navy WAVE, WWII

US Navy Nurse insignia

US Navy Nurse insignia

June Poggi – Sacramento, CA; US Army, WWII, Nurse

Louise Rossi – Sharon Hill, PA; US Army, WWII,  Nurse

Grace Shaefer – FL; US Army, WWII, Nurse

Joan Shimerda – Philipsburg, MT; US Army (Ret. 20 yrs.), Vietnam, Nurse

 

#####################################################################

######################################################

Advertisements

About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on November 23, 2015, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 94 Comments.

  1. Until now I only knew of her film work. Rock on, Martha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. She was een great lady bringing fun in war is very specialand not so easy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazing woman. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t know that she was buried at Ft. Bragg. That’s a considerable honour.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Her great personality always seemed to shine. Nice tribute!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a nice post! I never knew all that about Martha Raye!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A worthy woman and nurse. Wonderful tribute!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great story and a wonderful woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on The mind is an unexplored country. and commented:
    Hard to imagine anyone in Hollywood being so forthright about their conservative views today.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. hello gp cox its dennis the vizsla dog hay my dada sez he had no ideea martha raye had dun all theez things!!! he mostly just noo her frum sum nineteen seventeez teevee show kalld the bugaloos!!! persunaly i am not shoor he shud go arownd admitting he watchd a show kalld the bugaloos but wotever dada!!! ennyway martha raye shoor sownds like an eksepshunal persun!!! ok bye

    Like

  11. That’s very interesting, that you! 🙂
    and Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

    Like

  12. I never knew this about Ms. Raye. She was not just a funny lady, she was a great American. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Gosh. I just wrote a story from my nursing career. Strange how we write some things that kind of go together well. sort of…hope all is well…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a special lady with a special connection to the Green Berets. Thanks for sharing the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great blog. Thank you so very much for the “like” of my recent guest-post on Sutton Hoo at First Night History. Keep up the excellent work!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A remarkable lady,worthy of her many awards.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great story, GP— and a great woman. I never knew about all of her contributions. —Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Such an interesting post and nice to see the recognition of the nurses!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a great tribute and I also didn’t realize much she did!. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Yay for Martha Raye! Thanks for this great post, GP

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A salute to Martha Raye and HOOAH dear lady!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. The Military Honors was well-deserved and well-earned!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I loved Martha Raye – her and Bob Hope were the best for the troops back then. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. What a character. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. GP – the link is coming up “page not found”. Interesting woman! Glad she was finally be able to be laid to rest among her beloved Green Berets.

    Like

  26. I loved Martha Raye. When I was a little kid and saw that one of her movies was on, I would do anything to watch it!

    Marcey

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Many thanks for this wonderful tale. In a different era, it would have been a major film. But who would have played the lead role?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only voice I can think of is Ethel Merman, but that was basically the same era. Today’s celebrities – I don’t think there’s one to compare. Thanks for reading, John!

      Like

  28. This reminded me of Bob Hope who I saw when I was a kid doing shows for the soldiers. I’m not sure if it was in Vietnam or in Korea, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. She was a real ‘trouper’ in every sense! Good tribute, GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Thanks for this information. I had no idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I loved Martha Raye, but had no idea about any of this. Thanks for sharing. She was an amazing lady!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thank you, Patrick, for helping to keep her memory and selfless acts alive in our minds! Tis the perfect season!!

    Like

  33. Thank you for honoring Miss Raye!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Martha Raye | Top Image Quotes

  2. Pingback: PacificParatrooper, G.P. Cox: USO and Nurse – Martha Raye | The Linden Chronicles: The Wolf's Moon/The River

  3. Pingback: Martha Raye–USO & Nurse | New Mexicans in WWII and Korea

  4. Pingback: My Article Read (11-23-2015) | My Daily Musing

  5. Pingback: USO and Nurse – Martha Raye | Rogues & Vagabonds

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: