In World War II the American Red Cross was asked by the U.S. Armed Forces to provide
recreational services to the servicemen in the various theatres of operation.

The American Red Cross Clubmobile was conceived by Harvey D. Gibson, Red Cross
Commissioner to Great Britain, who wanted to create a mobile service club. Early Clubmobiles
were remodeled London Green Line buses driven by an English driver and operated by three
American women.

Each Clubmobile contained a kitchen with a built-in doughnut machine and a primus stove for
heating water for coffee which was prepared in 50-cup urns. On one side of the kitchen area,
there was a counter and a large flap which opened out for serving coffee and doughnuts. The
rear of the Clubmobile contained a lounge with built-in benches that could be converted into
bunks. Each Clubmobile carried a Victrola with loud speakers, current phonograph albums,
paperback books, cigarettes, candy, and gum.
These Clubmobiles were stationed in a town near American Army installations and followed a
routine of going to different bases each day where the Clubmobilers would talk to servicemen
while they served coffee and doughnuts and played music.

In 1944, in preparation for the invasion of Normandy, two-and-a-half-ton GMC trucks were
converted into Clubmobiles containing kitchens with doughnut machines and coffee urns. Like
the larger Clubmobiles, the GMC trucks contained Victrolas and a supply of albums, cigarettes,
books, candy, and gum.
These Clubmobiles were staffed by three American women, one of whom would drive the truck
in addition to serving soldiers. They traveled with the rear echelon of the Army Corps and
received their orders from the Army.

The Red Cross required Clubmobilers to be between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five, to
have at least some college education, and some work experience. In addition, they had to be
healthy, "physically hardy," sociable, and attractive.
They served troops in England, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany, until May 7,
1945. A limited number of Clubmobiles continued service in Great Britain and Germany through
The Red Cross introduced an SAF&V recreational program in 1950 in response to a military
request, just as it had done during World Wars I and II when it ran clubs, canteens, and mobile
units equipped to serve doughnuts and coffee and provide light entertainment to the troops.
The Red Cross had turned these activities over to the Army Special Services shortly after World
War II. The first Red Cross recreational center in Korea opened in November 1950 and within a
few months the number of both permanent and mobile units grew to 24-with services provided
not only to American troops but also to the military personnel of all the UN forces involved in
the war. This program lasted until June 1952, when the military felt capable of taking over
responsibility for all recreational programs for the able-bodied and the Red Cross withdrew
from the service.

Near the end of the war, the U.S. Military asked the Red Cross to resume a mobile recreation
program in Korea to supplement its own programs in fixed facilities. Designated by the War
Department to build and maintain troop morale overseas, the Red Cross quickly launched a
nationwide recruiting campaign for recreation workers. The women had to be college graduates
and 25 years or older.

Accordingly, two months after the cease-fire, the Red Cross introduced its first Supplemental
Recreational Activities Overseas (SRAO) units. Eventually ten in number, they were made up of
paid teams of young, college-educated women who traveled to forward and isolated locations
to serve light refreshments and stage programs, calling on the participation of servicemen in
games, skits, and quizzes related to life at home.

The SRAO program lasted for 20 years. By the time it ended in 1973, 899 women had traveled a
total of 2.9 million miles bringing "a touch of home" and much cheer to members of the U.S.
armed forces in South Korea.  The women who served in the American Red Cross
Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO) program that we refer to as "Donut
Dollies", were civilians.

It was the GIs in Korea (in the 1950's) who gave the Red Cross Recreation workers the
nickname, "Donut Dolly."  The women had donut machines and could make up to 20,000 donuts
a day when the troop ships came in.
Donut Dollies
American Red Cross
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A Brief History
After extensive searching, I was unable to find any reference to the Clubmobile girls
being referred to as 'Donut Dollies', except for the above paragraph.
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Donut Dollies Korea
Donut Dollies Korea
Donut Dolly Photos