Raise your glass and let’s toast to Chickie!

By Rebecca Angel Baer
November 12, 2020
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Chick Donohue on boat
Credit: John 'Chick' Donohue

How far would you go to boost the morale of your friends? Bake a cake for a birthday? Send a handwritten note? Invite pals to come over for a socially distanced, outdoor Thanksgiving dinner? Probably no matter the answer, Chick Donohue has you beat.

This week, just in time for Veterans Day, current Pompano Beach, Florida, resident, John “Chick” Donohue released his memoir, The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War detailing the wild and true story behind just how far he went for his buddies. In November of 1967, Donohue, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran turned merchant mariner, was in a bar in New York with some buddies when he saw anti-war protestors on the news. He felt like his buddies who were serving in Vietnam would feel distraught seeing the unrest, and he had an idea. Donohue recently recalled that night with NBC’s Kerry Sanders on TODAY.

“You know, somebody’s gotta go over there and get ‘em all a beer or something and tell them we’re behind them. We support them.”

Days later equipped only with a backpack containing cans of beer and a list of guys from the old neighborhood he planned to visit, Donohue boarded a cargo ship headed to a war zone. The journey to Vietnam took two months and he had no idea if he could find his friends or not, but he was going to try. Through a series of lucky breaks, incredible adventures, and oh yeah, a series of close calls as he was caught in the middle of the Tet Offensive, Donohue managed to make good on the promise and many beers were shared.

Donohue recounted the moment he was caught in a fox hole with buddy Rick Duggan during an attack to Sanders saying, “So there was some firing going on. I was just making love to the ground at the time.”

Chick and Friends
Credit: Rick Duggan
Chick Donohue Dugout
Credit: Bobby Pappas
Chick and friends sitting with beers
Credit: Rick Duggan

 You can read about it all in The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War, available now wherever books are sold.  

You can watch Donohue’s full interview from TODAY here:

WATCH: America’s Oldest Living Marine Celebrates Her 107th Birthday

We think this sounds like a mighty fine gift idea, for those making their lists and checking it twice.