When Martha Raye Came
By Charles G. White

Martha Raye

We had never been visited by a celebrity, and none of us had ever had the opportunity to go to one of the big time shows. Logically and logistically the big-time shows could never make it to the out-of-way places.

Word came down that Martha Raye would be making her way to our little hill. Excitement loomed. We built a little stage and some seats out of ammunition boxes. We had a very likeable fellow from Holland named Pete Metz who had ended up in the U.S. Army. He asked "Who is Martha Raye?" I said "Have you ever heard of Raquel Welch?" He said "Yeah!!!" And I said "Wait until you see Martha Raye?"

Pete was prompt to seek out a front row ammo box. Shortly afterward a small helicopter landed with Martha Raye, her guitar player, and Chuckie Bird Robb (Charles Robb). I pointed Martha Raye out to Pete and said "That's Martha Raye." While you might imagine that there was some initial disappointment in his eyes, Martha Raye put on a wonderful show, and we all enjoyed it.

For those who don't know it, between WWII and Vietnam Martha Raye became a Colonel. For years afterward, every time I saw those Polident commercials, I thought of Martha Raye and what she so unselfishly contributed to our fighting men. God Bless Martha Raye.

In the year 2003 we located Pete Metz in the State of Washington. That spring on Memorial Day weekend Pete and his wife Linda came to visit my wife and me in Amarillo, Texas. It was a great reunion. He is the same Pete Metz, likeable and charming. Pete had lost all of his photographs from Vietnam, and his wife had never seen any pictures of Pete taken in Vietnam. Fortunately, I had several pictures of Pete and our unit. I suppose that he forgave me about the Martha Raye gag. It was my best Memorial Day weekend ever.