Christie, Jeanne “Sam”

Jeanne “Sam” Christie was born September 26, 1944 in Madison, Wisconsin.  Her father was a fire captain there, and Sam remembers growing up with a sense of community service.  Hers was a large family, and Sam had an older sister and two younger brothers that she would help to take care of.  When she finished high school, Sam went on to teachers’ college, and while there she learned of opportunities for employment in the Red Cross, which she decided to pursue.  At this time many young women were signing up for overseas service as one of the Red Cross’s “Donut Dollies”, and Sam chose to do exactly that; further, she chose to go to Vietnam right at the time when the war was reaching its height.  “Donut Dollies” had served in previous conflicts, and in Vietnam the job was the same: Sam and her colleagues were there to boost the troops’ morale – to get them to play games and talk…and to put the war aside for a while.  Sam was in Vietnam in 1967-68, and her memories of the time are vivid, from the positive memories of interacting with the soldiers to her perceptions of and experiences with the violence that always lingered.  Sam left Vietnam in the Tet offensive period, making her way back to the US and grad school.  She later decided to get out of America for a time, joining the USO and going to Guam, where she met her future husband.  She put her memories of her time in Vietnam aside and went on with her life; those memories returned though and in the 80s she began to share her story and to become an advocate for Donut Dollies and Vietnam veterans, causes that continue to be important to Sam today.  Sam Christie visited Scott Masters’ History 12 via zoom alongside Vietnam veteran Marc Spiridigliozzi in April 2022, and Scott Masters visited Sam at her home in Maine in July 2022.