A Little USO Tour
The United Services Organization (USO) was founded 74 years ago, on February 4, 1941, with its purpose being to provide entertainment and recreational opportunities to servicemen and boost the morale of the troops. Although not a government agency, the USO has been operating in cooperation with the Department of Defense since its inception. Though disbanded in 1947, the Korean War brought a need to revive the USO, and it has remained active since that time.
Initially USO locations were utilized by military personnel as places to watch a movie, dance, and/or socialize. It was eight months after its inception that the camp shows started, and these travelling tours saw, during WWII, many famous people come and visit or perform for the troops including Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, The Andrews Sisters, and Glenn Miller. The incomparable Bob Hope is still notably the most recognizable name as a USO performer, making 57 tours between 1947-1991. By an act of the U.S. Congress in 1997, Bob Hope was declared an honorary US Armed Forces veteran, and he continued to provide music and laughter in USO shows from WWII until the end of his career. Fast-forward to the present and thankfully we still have the many, many volunteers – normal people with normal lives who seek out to serve – as well as the movie stars, singers, and athletes making these USO tour visits to bring a smile, a song, or just a listening ear to our service men & women stateside as well as abroad.
From its humble beginnings in Louisiana, where it was first incorporated, to locations all over the world now, the USO is still there for those who have served and those who continue to serve our country – deployed troops, transitioning troops, military families, families of the fallen, and wound, ill, and injured military servicemen and servicewomen. The USO is a nonprofit, congressionally chartered, private organization, relying on the generosity of individuals, organizations, and corporations to support its activities.
If you would like to read more about the USO and all they do, here are a couple of links that might be of interest:
The national website: www.uso.org
Our Arizona USO based out of Sky Harbor Airport: http://us.uso.org/arizona/
If you have a fond memory of a particular USO Tour Show you got to see while serving or perhaps about a USO facility you visited, please share it with us in the comments section, we’d love to hear it!