Command Sgt. Major
- Feb 23, 2010
Col "Maggie" Martha Raye was accepted into the Green Berets...I would have posted this in the song of the day thread. However, this is a motivational thread. So I will put it here.
Some of you may not remember an entertainer by the name of Martha Raye. I was a kid then and only remember her as an old lady doing the poly-dent commercials on television.
Yes, I am that old. Nevertheless, through the magic of the internet, I've discovered a lot about Martha Raye.
Did you know that she is the only civilian given an exemption to be buried with full military honors in the cemetery at Ft. Bragg? She was a tireless entertainer who toured for the USO during WWII. She was also wounded twice in Vietnam while helping the wounded.
Her final years were plagued with ill health, Alzheimer's and the loss of both of her legs. She was given an exemption to be buried in Arlington cemetery but she requested Ft. Bragg.
She 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.
From 1964 to 1973, Martha traveled from camp to camp in isolated areas throughout Vietnam making eight (8) visits. She would stay "in-country" from four to six months at a time--usually at her own expense--to be with the troops she so dearly loved. She used the nurse's aide skills she learned back in the 1930s, and surgical techniques she picked up during World War II to help treat the wounded.
Look at the links after watch the video and read about this remarkable woman who is largely forgotten today. If not for the magic of the internet, I would only remember her as some old lady doing commercials for poly-dent. She's deserved every award and bit of recognition bestowed on her.
Her citation for the Presidential Medal of Freedom 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."
To my knowledge, the only woman ever to wear the beret.
There used to be a memorial to her at the SF museum at Bragg. But so much has changed in 30 years....