Book Review: The Greatest Beer Run Ever

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A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty and War
By John “Chick“ Donohue & J. T. Molloy

Review by Jack Smith

Like all great stories, this one started in a bar. In 1967, twenty-six-year-old John Donohue – also known as Chick – was out with friends at a local bar. They had gathered together to toast and remember lost comrades from the Vietnam war. Now they watched as anti-war students protested in the streets outside. It was decided that someone would sneak back into Vietnam and track down some of their old buddies, give them messages from home, and share some laughs over a can of neighborhood beer. It would be “The Greatest Beer Run Ever.” Great idea, but who would actually be crazy enough to do it? Who else but Chick? He was on a cargo ship headed to Vietnam the next day. Caught? With thousands trying every trick to get out of the war, who would be dumb enough to try to sneak into a country at war? Back in the country, Chick’s odyssey “The Epic Beer Run” had begun. His adventure took him through a series of hilarious escapades and close calls including The Tet Offensive. I often talk about “The Greatest Generation” and believe that some of that attitude resurfaced in men of that conflict. Will something like this ever happen again? Who knows, but don’t ever underestimate the courage of the American fighting spirit and the effect of lots of beer.