SRAO – RED CROSS GIRLS – DONUT DOLLIES
Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas (SRAO) was a Red Cross program as part of Services to the Armed Services. It existed from 1953 to 1973 and involved about 1600 staff over the years; all women.
SRAO began as a temporary clubmobile service in Korea at the end of the Korean War and continued there at military request until 1973. In 1954, SRAO centers opened in France and Morocco (and later in Turkey) in towns and cities adjacent to U.S. military bases for the purpose of building better understanding between the local people and the Americans. This phase of the program lasted until 1967.
SRAO operated in Vietnam from 1965 to 1972 with mobile and center activities. These three phases of the program, alike in the purpose of providing leisure time activities for U.S. servicemen, had distinct differences.
(From a letter by Sue Behrens to John Riina, Publications Coordinator, Corporate Communications Department, American Red Cross, June 18, 1986.)
Mary Louise Dowling was the Director of the SRAO Program. Sue Behrens served with SRAO during her career at Red Cross. With the encouragement of Red Cross management, and access to Red Cross archives, Sue wrote a history of the SRAO program in all three theatres.