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.