The Greatest Beer Run Ever
A TRUE STORY OF FRIENDSHIP STRONGER THAN WAR
In 1967, John (Chick) Donohue was a 26-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran working as a merchant seaman when he was challenged one night in a New York City bar. The men gathered at this hearth had lost family and friends in the ongoing war in Vietnam. Now, they were seeing protesters turn on the troops. One neighborhood patriot proposed an idea many might deem preposterous: One of them should sneak into Vietnam, track down their buddies in combat, and give each of them messages of support from back home, maybe some laughs -- and beer. Chick volunteered for the mission. He sailed to Vietnam on a cargo ship carrying a backpack full of American beer, landing in Qui Nho’n in 1968. Things went awry when Chick got caught in the Tet Offensive, starting in the early hours as an eyewitness to the battle to retake the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, where he became stuck for months. Chick Donohue later became legendary as “the sandhog who went to Harvard.” He worked for decades on behalf of New York’s tunnel builders as the legislative and political director of Sandhogs Local 147. This is the story of his epic beer run to Vietnam, in his own words and in those of the men he found in the war zone.