The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memior of Friendship, Loyalty and War. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty, and War by John “Chick” Donohue

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

One night in 1967, twenty-six-year-old John Donohue—known as Chick—was out with friends, drinking in a New York City bar. The friends gathered there had lost loved ones in Vietnam. Now, they watched as anti-war protesters turned on the troops themselves.

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One neighborhood patriot came up with an inspired—some would call it insane—idea. Someone should sneak into Vietnam, track down their buddies there, give them messages of support from back home, and share a few laughs over a can of beer.

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It would be the Greatest Beer Run Ever.

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But who’d be crazy enough to do it?

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One man was up for the challenge—a U. S. Marine Corps veteran turned merchant mariner who wasn’t about to desert his buddies on the front lines when they needed him.

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Chick volunteered.

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A day later, he was on a cargo ship headed to Vietnam, armed with Irish luck and a backpack full of alcohol. Landing in Qui Nho’n, Chick set off on an adventure that would change his life forever—an odyssey that took him through a series of hilarious escapades and harrowing close calls, including the Tet Offensive. But none of that mattered if he could bring some cheer to his pals and show them how much the folks back home appreciated them.

This is the story of that epic beer run, told in Chick’s own words and those of the men he visited in Vietnam.

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The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Fascinating true story of selflessness and friendship!


“Peter Farrelly (Green Book) is set to write and direct The Greatest Beer Run Ever (working title), based on the novel The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War by Joanna Molloy and John “Chickie” Donohue.”

This book was a nice change from my usual romance novels. It was a strange but true story of a man who went to vietnam during the height of the conflict to bring some joy to his neighborhood friends while they served their country. Many of the boys in the neighborhood had been dying after being shipped off to Vietnam and John “Chickie” Donovan and a few others were in a local bar chatting about the sad state of affairs in the country when boys are overseas fighting and dying then come home to be yelled at and spit on.

One of the guys, nicknamed the Colonel, said that something should be done to lift their spirits and since they couldn’t come around the neighborhood and join the guys for a beer, that someone should bring one to them. A good old american beer instead of the crap they get in country. Not only that, but a hug, a message from home and some camaraderie. Chickie happened to have been in Vietnam before and was currently in possession of a merchant marine card.

This meant he could sign on to any merchant marine vessel heading out to Vietnam to deliver ammo and supplies. So Chickie did just that. He picked up a case of beer and got on a merchant ship bound for Vietnam. He had a list of the neighborhood boys and what companies they were each in, so he could track them down. Chickie knew it wouldn’t be as easy as stopping in and finding them right away in the Port town. However, he lucked out right away in finding one of the guys who was an MP in the port town.

The rest of the story is of Chickie’s outrageous and sometimes perilous adventures while trying to get to the rest of the boys. Chickie often had to resort to conning his way into and out of situations and at first he was surprised that some of his ad libbing even worked, but soon found out.

It was the first of many instances in Vietnam where officers would treat me with the utmost deference, and, at first, I couldn’t understand why.
Then one day somebody told me: “Don’t you get it, pal? They think you’re CIA! Because why the hell else would you be here? In jeans and a plaid shirt, no less.”

What follows is a truly informative and sometimes hilarious story of Chickie’s journey through Vietnam. It is quite an interesting tale of a regular guy going out of his way at his own expense and putting himself in danger in order to bring a bit of hope and home to his fellow man. I really liked this story and the fact that it is true makes it even better. I was laughing hysterically at times, the storytelling is so good. See below for a link to a youTube documentary featuring Chickie and friends telling a shortened version of the story in their own words.

Documentary video by Pabst Blue Ribbon featuring Chickie: https://youtu.be/D4WAUmyKDq0

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

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