The Donut Dollies

The untold story of the American women who volunteered to go to Vietnam on an impossible mission: help the troops forget about the war.

Our 2014 Kickstarter campaign successfully reached its goal, which allowed us to film the return of two Donut Dollies to Vietnam for the first time in 46 years – thanks to all who donated! If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation to help us finish this documentary through our post production phase, please go to the How you can help page

This is the story of a group of amazing American women who volunteered to serve during the Vietnam War through the Red Cross as part of a program called Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO), better known by our brave military men as “The Donut Dollies.”  Armed with nothing but cookies and home-made entertainment programs, the Donut Dollies risked their lives every day as they tried to fulfill their mission and cheer up the US troops. Despite their service and sacrifice, their stories and contributions in Vietnam have gone largely unnoticed and unappreciated.  We’re hoping this project will change that.

Dorset and Linda S copy

  • “Donut Dollies is a little-known story about the Vietnam War that deserves to be told and Norm Anderson seems the perfect filmmaker to tell it. Not only does he have a personal connection to the subject, but he has the filmmaking skills to vividly portray the complexity of these women’s experiences in a tragic war that many Americans would still like to forget we fought.” – Mark Jonathan Harris, three-time Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker and Documentarian

Thanks to 148 generous donors, we’ve successfully completed a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that will allow us to complete principal photography, and document two Donut Dollies’ first trip back to Vietnam since completing their tour of duty in 1968-69.

As we retrace their steps, we’ll explore why they decided to go to Vietnam in the first place, and try to find and reconnect with the soldiers, fellow Donut Dollies and Vietnamese they met there.

This project is truly a labor of love, as one of the Donut Dollies – Dorset – happens to be director, Norm Anderson’s Mom and the other is her best friend, “Auntie Mary.”

We’ve been privileged to hear many of their stories firsthand and Norm’s Mom has even shared with us the journals she kept in Vietnam. The more we learn, the more we realize we have to help share those stories and preserve them.

If you missed making a donation during our fundraising campaign, you can still help us out! Please contact us to learn how you can help make this documentary a reality by contacting us at:

If you are a Veteran, Donut Dollie, family member or friend and have memories, photos, film or memorabilia related to the Donut Dollies that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you as well. You can send them to:

Please help us preserve and share the stories of The Donut Dollies, and come along for an amazing ride. We promise you’ll laugh, cry and learn a lot in the process. And, you’ll get to know some amazing women. Thank you!

Norm Anderson & Jess Hill



  1. Eric r. Galant. (F TROOP, 17th CAV, 1971-1972) said:

    This sounds like a really great documentary/movie. I never was lucky enough to meet these “young sheroes” but I know they made a difference in many young men’s lives by being there.

    I can’t wait to see it. I would be more than honored to contribute to your undertaking.

    June 27, 2014
  2. Vietvet52 said:

    I remember seeing you all once ,

    December 21, 2014
  3. Rick Wilcox said:

    Just read the article in the Berkshire Eagle. Happy you are saving this important part of the history of the war in Vietnam. I remember Dorset from her time in Stockbridge and never saw her without a smile. We were in Vietnam at the same time, something I just learned this week.

    January 7, 2015
  4. Lloyd Lapore , Jr . said:

    I had just arrived in Nam a few weeks prior to seeing my first Donut Dolli . She was at Camp
    Eagle with the Bob HopeTroupe ,,
    She was on the stage with Bob !
    Ironically a fellow RVN VET , got
    On a website with her ,,PENNI EVANS , on it ! I soon got in touch with her ! It is my Desire to Help Her & especially THESE
    these Donut Dollies for THEIR SERVICE TO US . Let’s keep them
    in our HEARTS & assist them in

    January 23, 2015
  5. They were the best, my donut dolly was Emily Strange who was assigned to 9th Infantry and the Mobile Riverine Force

    EMILY–From one of your guys
    In the midst of the 60’s
    She found herself confused
    She was challenged to come see and do her part

    So instead of becoming a part of the problem
    She became part of the solution instead
    She came to make a difference

    The odd thing about the Vietnam War
    It makes no difference if you male or female
    Soldier or civilian it impacts your soul

    She bore the risks of combat
    Same as you and me
    She served us all with fidelity

    Some will say she didn’t serve
    I will tell them that they are wrong
    She is as much a Veteran –as us all

    Emily, raised in Atlanta
    With her charm and her grace
    Became a Donut Dollie in a faraway place

    She became a beacon of light… she brought us hope
    With her smile and round-eyes
    She took us to another time and place – away from the war

    She didn’t carry a weapon
    She came with fun and games – she did her part
    More importantly she became a part of the soldiers heart

    As I look back on memories of the past
    I recall with a certain fondness
    Her beauty with a southern voice

    Thanks for doing your part
    You are not forgotten
    You became part of our heart

    The gal from Georgia – our Donut Dollie
    A soldier’s friend indeed
    WELCOME HOME EMILY – my sister…
    WELCOME HOME indeed

    ©Copyright 2003 by Kerry “Doc” Pardue

    February 5, 2015
  6. Gary Thompson said:

    i served in Vietnam 1967-68. Returning to it in 2006 was the best thing i ever did to help my “healing” from that experience. I know these ladies will find it as well.

    February 5, 2015
  7. Robert Preston said:

    Remember the donut dollies in Qui Nhon and the boost in morale they gave in talking to and seeing them. Loved the song they sang at the end of your video. Brings back memories. Looking forward to seeing the documentary. I saw on a web site a couple if years ago where some sailors went back to our base in Qui Nhon. There is nothing left there on our base. Just remnants of a pier.

    February 5, 2015
  8. I was a DD in Vietnam from April 66-April 67. I hope you will take the time to visit my site and see my FAQs and photos. I have hundreds of photos posted elsewhere. Please contact me if you want to know more about my experiences.

    February 5, 2015
  9. Monte Olsen said:

    i wasn’t lucky enough to see or meet any of the donut dollies, but I knew they were there in country and appreciated the very much. Welcome home dear ladies, and thanks for being there. You made a huge difference.

    February 17, 2015
  10. Jim Dodge said:

    Hello Dorset!

    I am so glad that you are making this return visit back to Vietnam. If you are spending a few days right in Saigon, I mean Ho Chi Minh City, please be careful crossing the streets as there are so many scooters swarming around! Last year I returned to Saigon and went to the Ben Thanh market. It is an amazing place to interact directly with the Vietnamese people.

    March 1, 2015
    • skip Sutton said:

      yes crossing the streets anywhere in a city was a free for all. Scooters & bike riders would open up like the lane of traffic at the last possible second…maybe.

      February 17, 2016
  11. Arlie Matthews said:

    Donut Dollies were as important to the Vietnam veteran as were the Bob Hope Christmas shows mainly because these ladies were throughout Vietnam continuously throughout the entire year. They brought their smiles and happy personalities offering the GI a chance to enjoy a friendly face “from back in the real world”. They were like your sister, your girlfriend – they helped you to make the best of a difficult time in your life.

    March 31, 2015
  12. I too was a Donut Dolly in Viet Nam. I was there during 1967 and 1968, and was stationed in Lai Khe, Danang, and Chu Chi, then later back to Lai Khe. This still remains the most phenomenal time in my life. I am flooded with unbelievable memories and cherish them all. I would do it all over again as would these women who are making the trip back to do this documentary. My one regret is that in all these years I have never had the chance to go back to Viet Nam myself. It is truly amazing that so few people know so little, if anything, about our program there. Thank God I married a soldier whom I met there at that tim because he completely understands what it all meant to me. My very best wishes for a successful film!!!

    April 3, 2015
  13. Skip Sutton said:

    I remember the Dollies at Tuy Hoa. Air Force Base in ’70. They did a wonderful job. I was an Army MP who worked part time at FM Tuy Hoa (Gary Layne air name) which was located in the Red Cross center. I was also stationed for awhile in Nha Trang in ’69.

    January 11, 2016
  14. Deedee said:

    I am SO glad you got out of there! The Dollies must have been so appreciated. When I think of you there I think of “MASH.” XXXOOO

    January 11, 2016
  15. Margy Hoogland said:

    I have just viewed the Trailer for “The My Hero Project” regarding The Donut Dollies, as I have viewed it before, with absolute admiration and respect for the Stars and the Movie-Makers…..Thank you so much, may we Always Remember, Never Forget…the sacrifices so many made, for their fellow residents of the planet…

    January 17, 2016
  16. Maggie Connor said:

    I, too, was a DD in Nam….Danang in 71 (with a TDY to Long Binh in Dec.) had my “15 minutes of fame” when Bob Hope called me up on stage to salute the work we did during his show (He called the whole unit up after I got up there!); transferred to Cam Ranh Army, with trips to Plekiu … a memorable year…Like Pat Fortenberry’s comment, I too married a GI I met in Danang….Our oldest son, an Iraq Veteran, just came back from a visit to Nam that he took for his law office….he says we really need to go back!
    We’ll see!
    I am happy for Dorset and Mary!
    You have a great son, Dorset!

    February 16, 2016
    • Mike Barber said:

      I was in Da Nang Apr 71-Mar 72. Where you there when the rocket hit the USO building? I was in the 366th CES which was about a quarter mile from there.
      Thanks for your service!!

      June 23, 2016
      • Maggie Connor said:

        Hey, Mike!
        THANKS for your Service…and WELCOME HOME!
        No, I wasn’t there when the USO got hit…had been transferred to Cam Ranh Army by then…Our Center was right across from there, so I guess it would have been pretty scary for the Donut Dollies still there…

        June 26, 2016
  17. Ken Adams said:

    I was in Lai Khe. In 1971 my sister was a Donut Dollie (’70-’71). We passed each other, she was leaving and was I arriving in Cam Rahn and we saw each other for 1 hour. Her name is Lindy Adams. She a lot braver than me. Thanks to all DD’s
    Ken Silver Spurs cobra

    March 24, 2016
  18. Edward Monaghan said:

    I was in Bien Hoa 1967-1968 and remember the DD coming down on the flight line and it was so nice to see them!!!!!

    June 23, 2016
  19. Jenn whiddon said:

    I would like to know of my school friend Anne Smyth ‘s time there. I would like to do something in our hometown to remember her .

    June 23, 2016
  20. Joan Scarborough Boyle said:

    I was a DD in Nam from June 67-June 68- stationed in Bien Hoa ( and forward to Dak To) with the 173rd Airborne, then Long Binh, Phan Rang(Air Force) and last Mac V in Pleiku. It changed my life. Coming home was very hard and I ended up going back to work for the Red Cross, in Service to Military Families, as the only caseworker for the eastern half of the US Navy and Marine Corps amputees at Philadelphia Naval Hospital. Spending time with them during the day, and in “the world” at night helped me adjust as much as I helped them. Spent some of the best years of my life with those brave men , in both locations. The latter assignment eventually led me into nursing. I have nurse friends, from Vietnam,, who want me to go back. I hear it’s gorgeous.

    June 24, 2016
    • Don Brown said:

      I was in several places in ’69, but lost my best friend from pilot training in “Huns” in ’68 at Phan Rang. Knew your work in Tan Son Nhut, Pleiku, and DaNang. Ended up flying in and out of Laos. Hope to see an exhibit for you guys at the National Museum Of the Air Force in Dayton. You were “Sheroes” for sure.

      June 26, 2016
    • Nan Reckart Eaton said:

      Joan Scarborough Boyle, I feel certain that I worked with you at Philadelphia Naval Hospital. I was assigned there as a caseworker from April, 1968 – July, 1969 when I was transferred overseas. Mary Pat Hannigan was my supervisor and Barbara Spooner was the HFD. Virginia Meyers also worked the amputee wards. The others that I remember being there were Anna Barger, Ellen Jones, Diana Fleiss, Joyce Rice and Gale Valentine. I wonder if you kept in touch with any of them, I can remember some of the faces of the girls in Recreation, but not names. I would love to hear from you to reminisce. I am in several DD-SRAO groups on Facebook and the Yahoo groups list serve. Hope all is well.

      July 13, 2016
  21. Ann Mitchell (Kilty) said:

    I was also in Bien Hoa, 70 -71….had a hard time adjusting to The World too…..a tiny bit of PTSD but nothing like the GIs….went to Europe and bummed around for a year….came back and worked at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio for a few years as a rec worker at the burn unit there. Also certainly changed my life….such a gift! So grateful for so many experiences

    June 25, 2016
  22. ED EATON said:

    Thank you all for caring when it seemed no one did!
    Ed Eaton
    3/6oth 9th ID

    July 15, 2016
  23. Darryl Dunkelberger said:

    Thank you all for giving us that little piece of home while we were so far away from ours. What you did for our morale was really appreciated

    August 26, 2016
  24. Ray Jasso said:

    I was at Phan Rang Air Force Base and Da Nang Air Force Base, 70,71. While shopping at Tower Record Store in 83, I recognized this blonde with a French braid. I began to talk to her and mentioned that French braid. She said she was a Donut Dollies at Phan Rang Air Force Base ,70. I remembered her because of her braid. I saw her in San Diego CA . I sure would like to reconnect. My email is

    September 13, 2016
  25. Ann Mitchell (Kilty) said:

    I was at Bien Hoa, Quin Nhon, and Chu Lai in 70-71 but not sure who you are speaking of….Lorinda was a redhead who might have been there?

    September 15, 2016
  26. James L Johnson said:

    I I was flying out of NaTrang Vietnam and I’met a donut dolly there, her name was Charlotte Ruggallo. She was from the East Coast of New Jersey and she was a very very special woman. I’ve never forgotten her and she will always be very special to me. Jim Johnson, ,Army aviator/18th Aviation, Low Slow Reliable

    October 8, 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *