1 minute readHoliday, Military Support

From the Archives: Women in the Red Cross

It’s Women’s History Month! And to commemorate it, the Red Cross archives will feature images from the collection portraying women and their diverse roles in the organization. Since the founding of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton in 1881, women have played an important part in advancing the organization’s programs and services. The second installment features World War II volunteers and women providing Red Cross services in Korea and Vietnam.


Washington, DC, June 1942—These volunteer production workers of the American Red Cross prepared over 300,000 kits containing small articles for the comfort of the men sailing to foreign ports. The kits contained soap, writing materials, shoe laces, playing cards, a polishing cloth, and a paperback novel. Photo by F. Fusco

Korean War 1955

Korea 1955—Red Cross Clubmobile staff serving coffee to men of the 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Division, during field maneuvers. Photo by Dorothy Moore

Vietnam War 1968

Phu Loi, South Vietnam, June 1968—A cold drink for a hot day is handed to a soldier by Red Cross Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO) staff. Red Cross spent long arduous days bringing informal recreation programs to isolated units in South Vietnam. Photo by Mark Stevens

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  1. This is fascinating– thank you so much for posting it! I look forward to new installments.

  2. I am seeking information on a Red Cross Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas (SRAO) worker, Cynthia Colburn, for an article to be published in the Fare Facs Gazette newsletter of Historic Fairfax City, Inc. (www.historicfairfax.org)

    On August 24, 1967 Cynthia Colburn, affectionately known as a Donut Dollie, was a passenger on a UH-1 Helicopter which took off from Camp Holloway, Pleiku, Vietnam on a combat support mission. The helicopter crashed landed in a river about 15 miles southwest from the airbase. Of the nine people onboard only four survived the crash. Miss Colburn and three other survivors were swept downstream in the rain swollen river. The crash site was located by Maj. Walter J. Potock, USAF, who was piloting an O-1 “Bird Dog”. Maj. Potock marked the crash site and survivor locations with smoke rockets. The four were rescued by two helicopters dispatched to the crash site.

    Colonel Walter Joseph Potock, USAF (RETD) was a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran and resident of the City if Fairfax. He died in August 2017.

    Any biographical information about Miss Colburn, her service in Vietnam, and present location would be appreciated.