Featured Oral History Project

During the Vietnam War, the Red Cross hired approximately 630 young, unmarried, and college-educated women to work for the Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SROA) program. The SRAO program provided entertainment and emotional relief to American troops through recreation and diversion activities. The women employed by the Red Cross, nicknamed “Donut Dollies,” boosted the morale of American soldiers stationed in Vietnam while also navigating complex gender, race, and class dynamics during their time in Vietnam. The SRAO women also frequently served as emotional caregivers and counselors to grieving, traumatized, and emotive soldiers. Their oral histories, especially those who were in at the end of the war in 1970 and 1971, provide an interesting and nuanced perspective of the Vietnam War.

The Center’s display case on the third floor of Main Hall on Regis University’s NW Denver campus currently features an exhibit about the SRAO women who recorded their oral histories with the Center’s staff in 2015. 

The Chicano Experience in Vietnam

While a significant presence in the Vietnam-era military, Chicano and Hispanic veterans have often been left out of the dominant war narratives. Chicano and Hispanic Vietnam veterans formed an important pillar of the Chicano Movement--a movement of young Chicanos who protested their second-class citizenship in American society that saw them as both inferior and expendable. For the Chicano people, the war in Vietnam was a critical turning point politically and socially, as both veterans and activists took to the streets and protested what they saw as an oppressive majority society and an unjust war in Southeast Asia.

The ongoing Chicano Experience in Vietnam project collects oral history interviews, photographs, documents, and other items related to Chicano Vietnam veterans. The project also incorporates the experiences of family and friends of Chicano veterans.

A short film featuring the oral histories conducted at Regis University for the Chicano Experience in Vietnam project is included in History Colorado's El Movimiento: The Chicano Movement in Colorado exhibit.