USO Shows

In my 27 Years of Service I’ve seen a lot of USO shows (actually this is the term used for all shows shown to us in a War Zone). Top Actors during the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s made USO Shows during WWII, most of them went to the European War. I did get to see Bob Hope, Jack Carson and some lesser named Actors, but not often. Now in Vietnam most of the military men were not familiar with this group but the Girls were Pretty with short dresses and did a shimmy or two. This was the Group Al Jolson (WHO?) put together and sent to Vietnam. No l didn’t see Al, Jolson was a big hit during the 1920’s and 1930’s, and he died in the 1950’s so he wasn’t there, but if you have a Group and a Manager who’s still around, they could be sent to perform for us. You can see the guys enjoying seeing the girls.

Earlier that week Recon brought in a Prisoner (note the Ho Chi Minh sandals) and we even polished our boots in Vietnam as you can see.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

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18 thoughts on “USO Shows”

  1. I really love your stories, Gunny. I remember only seeing one real stateside USO show with round-eyed girls in miniskirts, gyrating on a small stage with a band and comic MC. Even then, we were so far away that you could barely see or hear. Most that I remember occasionally seeing were the Philippine or Korean mimic bands. The instrumentation was usually good, however the vocalization often left a lot to be desired, but it was better than singing to ourselves. Semper Fi!!!

  2. I cannot even begin to share how these stories, especially in the shape the country is in right now, reminds me that we are strong and Improvise, Adapt and Overcome the horrors of today.
    Semper Fi!

    1. Rest assured, Leonard, regardless of how bad the situation seems it will always get better. We may not necessarily agree on the same method or manner, may cuss and belittle each other, but we will always persevere and change for the better. The only constant in life is change, be ready for it. Semper Fi!!

  3. I would have gone to an Ish Kabibble concert. Any thing was better that worrying about what’s happening in the future.

  4. Hey Gunny
    One of those groups was a group of girls called the Gold Diggers. There was, I believe, six of them.
    I can’t remember if they were with the Bob Hope show in the states or with the Dean Martin show. I was with HMM 364 out of DaNang in Dec `1970 and got to fly them around. By the way I was not the pilot I was a door gunner. Good memories. SEMPER FI
    Nick Trosterud

    1. Hey Nicholas.
      Just caught the fact that you were in HMM-364. So was I, from Desert Shield, through part of ’94. Was in the Philippines when Mt. Pinatubo blew up. When I came home, I met another Marine who was in 364 in Vietnam, but he died in a plane crash flying his WW II T-6 Texan / SNJ…painted in Purple Fox colors, (purple and white). His name was Joe Gunnels. He flew up to an airport in the Rockies, (I want to say, Aspen), and he was making a turn and the plane stalled, and went in. Did you by chance know Joe???? Oh. And HMM-364 has been converted into VMM-364 to operate the V-22 Osprey, but I don’t know the exact date that that happened.

  5. Nam Phong Thailand, December 1972, Bob Hope and the gang. His wife had an awesome, beautiful singing voice and a really nice lady. I was about 2 rows back in the front. My Mom even saw me on the TV in January 1973 when the show aired. I also located the video on the web. And Red Fox was something else to hear, live. Censors would have never let him get two words out, back in the States. And the Ladies…I still have all my pictures/slides I took.

    1. No USO show ever made it up to Khe Sanh in 67or 68. I did get to see one at Phu Bai as I was headed home. Peter Leads or something like that, never heard of him before or since but appreciated that he had come over

  6. Now those were the days my dad was stationed in Korea and then went straight to Vietnam. People do not know what the war is like unless you have been there.

  7. The only person that I remember coming out to the field is Martha Ray. She had more guts than any of them.

  8. Saw Martha Ray up near the DMZ. She was the only celebrity that would come that far north. Loved seeing and talking to her. She was one helluva woman! Saw Bob Hope in DaNang from waaay far away. But I enjoyed his show as well, mostly the gals.

  9. While down at Gitmo during the Cuban Missile Crisis we had a USO show arrive. I don’t know what we expected but we got Perry Como. Talk about pissed. The girls were great but that was about it. Things had cooled down a bit by then so there was no real danger. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith was also there.

    1. Dave – Weren’t you the lucky ones!!! Every day a holiday, and every meal a feast. Semper Fi!!!

  10. Saw Martha Ray outside of Da Nang in 67. She was a hell of a woman and made you feel like you were the one she was talking too. Love that woman – Semper Fi

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