Top USO Performances, Through The Years
This year, the United Service Organization (USO) celebrates its 75th anniversary. Since its earliest days during World War II, the USO has dispatched America’s most talented entertainers to boost the morale of American service members deployed in far corners of the world. Reading a list of early USO performers is reading a who’s who of Hollywood’s decorated stars: Bob Hope, Raquel Welch, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire, Jack Benny, John Wayne, and Elizabeth Taylor among them.
Out of appreciation for America’s troops and the organization which has served their spirits, here is a glimpse of the USO’s most celebrated performances since 1941.
Bob Hope did his first show in Vietnam in 1963, and footage from that South Pacific tour was made into a successful TV special. American troops stationed in Vietnam eagerly anticipated Bob Hope’s Christmas Show each year. From 1964 to 1972, Hope visited South Vietnam on annual trips to visit troops during the holiday season. Bob Hope was a mainstay of the USO since its inception during World War II. (Above) Bob Hope performs for American Troops during WWII in 1944.
On her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio in 1954, Marilyn Monroe performed for American soldiers in Korea.
James Brown in Vietnam, 1968.
Sammy Davis, Jr. entertains troops in Vietnam in 1972, shortly before the end of the war.
Jay Leno performs comedy in 1991 for soldiers during Operation Desert Shield during the Gulf War.
Kid Rock performs for American troops in Afghanistan, 2003.
All photos are courtesy of USO.org and the United States Army.