Episode 2766 – Donut Dollie Connie Dugan Popel shares her story

Connie Dugan Popel, Vietnam Veteran News, Mack Payne

Connie Dugan Popel shows her scrapbook of pictures from her year in Vietnam in 1969-1970 as a member of the Donut Dollies with the American Red Cross.

Episode 2766 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Donut Dollie Connie Dugan Popel and her service to our country.  The featured story appeared on the U.S. Department of Defense website and was titled ‘Donut Dollie’ Brought Smiles to Troops in Vietnam. It was submitted by Skip Vaughn, editor of the Redstone Rocket.

Connie Dugan Popel was a recreation aide for the American Red Cross for a year-long tour. Of the 1,200 women who worked for the American Red Cross in Vietnam throughout the Vietnam War, 627 were part of the Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas Program — better known as the “Donut Dollies” — who were there from 1965-72.

Popel was a college senior in Ohio majoring in sociology when she saw a recruitment poster for Donut Dollies on a bulletin board. “No. 1, the big thing was I didn’t know what to do after college. Then, I saw the poster and I thought, ‘This sounds fascinating,'” she said. “Plus I love to travel. And I was used to family game nights at home.”

A recreation background was not required, just a college degree. The military wanted a group of young women to go to Vietnam to develop troop morale programs at the request of Gen. William Westmoreland, the then-commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam.

“I think my role [as a Donut Dollie] was to be myself,” Popel said, “I’m known for my smile and I smiled and smiled and smiled. And I think that I represented maybe an American girl who cared, who hoped that I brought some kind of happiness for a second in a horrible, horrible war.”

“It was the best year of my life,” she said. “I was very naive. But I grew up, like we all did.

Listen to episode 2766 and discover more about Donut Dollie Connie Dugan Popel and her service to our country.

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