USO

By | May 6, 2011

The United Service Organizations, the USO, was chartered on February 4, 1941. General George C Marshall suggested the idea in 1940. The armed forces were growing even before the US entered World War II and he felt that there was a need for recreation for on-leave members.

The USO, Inc., was organized by representatives of five private social service organizations: the Salvation Army, the YMCA, the National Board of the YWCA, the National Jewish Welfare Board, and the National Catholic Community Service. In March the Travelers Aid Association of America joined too.

The USO has not been in continuous operation since its inception. For a brief time between 1948 after the end of WWII and the beginning of the Korean War it disbanded. Since then it has been in constant operation, to the delight of many service men and women.

Bob Hope can easily be called Mr. USO. He performed his first USO show at March Field, California, May 6, 1941. He headlined approximately 60 tours. Beginning in 1948 he did his first USO Christmas Tour and he visited military bases and veterans’ hospitals every December for the next 34 years.

In 1997, Bob Hope was named a honorary veteran by the US congress and signed by President Clinton. He remarked, “I’ve been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honor I have ever received.”

From their Web site at http://www.uso.org/; “The USO currently operates more than 135 centers worldwide, including ten mobile canteens located in the continental United States and overseas. Overseas centers are located in Germany, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Qatar, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guam, and Kuwait. Service members and their families visit USO centers more than 7 million times each year.”


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