Cathy Wayne was the stage name of Australian entertainer Catherine Anne Warnes (7 December 1949 – 20 July 1969) who was killed during the Vietnam War by United States Marine Sergeant James Wayne Killen.Wayne had just finished a song for US Marines at a Non-commissioned officer's club near Da Nang in South Vietnam. Killen was convicted of the unpremeditated murder of Wayne; at his court-martial it was alleged that he was aiming for his commanding officer, Major Roger E. Simmons.Wayne had intended to use money earned from her performances in Vietnam to revive her recording career; and to marry her fiancé, Clive Cavanagh, who was the drummer for her performance troupe, Sweethearts on Parade. Wayne was the first Australian woman killed during the Vietnam War.
In mid-1969, Sweethearts on Parade, an Australian pop group / performing troupe, was established by Sydney promoter Les Maisler to tour Vietnam. Sweethearts on Parade consisted of Wayne on lead vocals, Clive Cavanagh on drums, Jacqui Edwards as a Go-Go dancer, Rick Hoare on guitar, Jeff Howison as MC / singer / comedian, Jimmy Taylor on organ / bass guitar and Natalia Woloch as a Go–Go dancer. Wayne, as lead singer of Sweethearts on Parade, returned to South Vietnam on an unsanctioned tour. Wayne's parents and Col Joye attempted to dissuade her from this second tour,but Wayne insisted and intended to use money earned from her performances in Vietnam to restart her recording career. Wayne wanted to marry her fiancé, Cavanagh, who was the drummer in Sweethearts on Parade.The group arrived in Vietnam on 26 June 1969, Wayne stayed in Saigon between shows for Australian and US troops.
At his court-martial, Killen was charged with premeditated murder and was alleged to have been aiming for his commanding officer, Major Roger E. Simmons.Killen was convicted of the unpremeditated murder of Wayne; he was stripped of all service privileges, dishonourably discharged and sentenced to 20 years hard labour. Killen denied all murder claims but admitted to drinking heavily on the night. After the autopsy in Saigon, Wayne's body was returned to Sydney and cremated according to Anglican rites.
Cathy Wayne was born as Catherine Anne Warnes on 7 December 1949 in Arncliffe, New South Wales, Australia. Wayne was the child of George Warnes and Nancy Starnes, née Buck. She went to Athelstane Public School where she began singing and dancing classes. Wayne later attended Arncliffe Girls' High School, and, before the age of 12, had performed in school concerts and local community stage shows. She took up a dancing spot on Sydney television, TCN-9, programme Opportunity Knocks. She also appeared on an Australian TV special, A Night with Leslie, starring US entertainer Leslie Uggams. At the age of 16, after winning a talent contest, Wayne was offered a regular role on television variety show, Bandstand, alongside veteran Rock 'N' Roll performers Col Joye and Little Pattie.
Although under legal drinking age, Wayne performed in licensed clubs around Sydney, she also recorded advertising jingles and uncharted singles. Concert tours along the east coast of Australia, headlined by Joye, led to her first tour of South Vietnam at the age of 17, in early 1967.This tour was sanctioned by the Australian Forces Advisory Committee on Entertainment. Wayne was presented as a modette version of fellow Bandstand regular Little Pattie. Upon return to Australia, Wayne continued her appearances on Bandstand and touring with Joye.
It was the very first time I had been on an International flight. I was excited to say the least. It was April of 1968 I was working as a singer guitarist with an eight piece band in one of Sydney's popular upmarket venues The Oceanic Hotel Coogee. The offer arrived. Would I like to entertain American troops in Vietnam? Most certainly I would. Where do I sign?
Within a month of the offer I had given notice to my regular band, arranged a passport, publicity pics, necessary injections and a level of energy I have not experienced since.
I left Sydney Australia for what was to be the adventure of a lifetime for a somewhat immature 20 year old. I told my parents that it would be a perfectly safe thing for me to do. "Think of Bob Hope" I said, as though it would be a comfort to them.
I didn't know what I was letting myself in for and neither did they. I only knew that I was growing tired of the seemingly peaceful Sydney suburb I lived in. I wanted to travel.
Arrival Saigon June 6, 1968
l will never forget the initial shock of disembarking from the plane only to be hit with a great burst of heat, a dry, burning climate I had never experienced before. Then the sight of hundreds of military personnel with machine guns and everywhere green uniforms, military equipment and aircraft. The military toys that I once played with as a child now took on a sobering identity. I was in the centre of Saigon - totally bewildered.
The first of our shows was to be an audition before a panel of grading American Officers and USO officials. It was held in Long Bin about an hours drive from Saigon.This would give the agent or the person selling the show a price limit according to the grade. They would then have the freedom to sell the show to clubs in military facilities all over South Vietnam. We passed and were given a fair grade.
That week we stayed, temporarily, in a Chinese hotel in downtown Saigon. To get back to the hotel after the audition show we accepted a lift back from some very friendly Navy EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) guys. The vehicle was an enclosed Navy Jeep. Fortunately my side window was open because the Navy escort sitting behind me accidentally fired a round from a grenade launcher. The barrel was leaning on my shoulder. I heard a "pop", felt a sudden pain like a punch and assumed I had been shot. I calmly blurted "I think Ive been hit."
I was taken to hospital at top speed where i was treated for a minor burn and a very sore shoulder blade. Thank God the window was open. That was my introduction to a long stay in Vietnam.
During that first tour of 11 months and 6 days we had managed more than 116 flights in choppers, gun ships, C130's, many military machines including boats and barges, trucks, jeeps and even motor cycles. Whatever it took to get to the show.
During and after shows the compounds were often under mortar attack, perimeter attacks, fired on while travelling in in choppers and on the ground in trucks and jeeps, we sometimes had to abandoned shows during or before commencement.
I admit I was very concerned most of the time. We were not always in safe areas and depended on warnings from sirens or military personell to direct us towards bunkers..
American troops seem to listen to every word of a song - even if they had never heard it before. They seem to search for songs that were presented with feeling. Perhaps ballads, blues songs, soul songs, home town songs, country songs. It didn't seem to matter. Emotions ran high. They would laugh, sometimes cry, sing along, and most of all applaud loudly. The greatest audiences of my career and inspired me to make music my lifelong vocation.
My "Thanks" to this day
I survived Vietnam as a civilian because of the many brave military servicemen and women who sometimes risked their lives to protect and deliver us to and from performances.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Norm Faber
Some Career history
Norm's overseas career started by entertaining American and Australian troops during three long tours of the war zone during the Vietnam conflict. The troop audiences were receptive, appreciative, and showed their appreciation with enthusiastic applause. This in turn motivated him to seek a full time career in entertainment.