May 6, 1941
Three months after the USO was founded, Bob Hope led a group of celebrities to perform for airmen stationed at March Field (now March Air Force Base) in California—the beginning of a great tradition. Pictured here, Hope in September 1942 at the USO in Fairbanks, Alaska.

March 1942
Comedian Joe E. Brown was the first celebrity to tour front–line bases when he went to Alaska and the Aleutian Islands and the first celebrity to tour the China–Burma–India theater of operations (pictured). His own son was killed in a military plane crash in California in 1942.

Bob Hope led his first USO overseas wartime tour, taking Frances Langford, Tony Romano and Jack Pepper to bases in England, North Africa, Sicily and Ireland. Over the course of his career, Hope appeared in or hosted almost 200 USO performances, including annual Christmas tours for 35 consecutive years.

Entertainers found an audience and a stage wherever they could. Bing Crosby, shown here, performed on the back of a truck on the "cow pasture circuit" in France.

May 1945
By V–E Day, the USO was producing as many as 700 shows a day around the world. Performers ranged from the most famous faces in Hollywood, like the Andrews Sisters and Marlene Dietrich (pictured), to those just beginning their careers.

October 1945
Even as World War II ended, thousands of troops remained overseas–and the USO went out to them. Here, Danny Kaye in Japan, October 1945.

Lena Horne, talking with a serviceman and a USO volunteer (date and location unknown). Horne was outspoken in calling for better treatment of African Americans in the military, Hollywood and other aspects of U.S. life.


Legendary swashbuckler Errol Flynn takes time out to share tales with wounded troops in Taegu, Korea

USO tours ramped up in Korea where hundreds of performances were staged; a USO Camp Show took place somewhere in Korea every single day during 1953. Here, Johnny Grant, a lifetime USO supporter and later known as the Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, performed in the "Buffalo Bowl" in Korea.

First USO performance broadcast on still–new television: Bob Hope and Anita Ekberg in a Top of the World Show at Thule Air Force Base in Greenland.

Marilyn Monroe visited the troops in Korea shortly after her marriage to Joe DiMaggio. She reportedly said that their reaction made her realize she had really made it as a star.

USO entertainment carried on throughout the decade, after Korea, almost anyplace U.S. troops were stationed. Here, Bob Hope introduced Ginger Rogers to troops in Alaska.


Among the first performers on a USO tour to Vietnam: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Long–time supporters of the USO, they met while performing together at a USO show at Edwards Air Force Base in the 1940s.

First USO Bob Hope Christmas tour to Vietnam. It was later learned that the Viet Cong attempted to bomb the hotel where the group was to stay. This photo, taken aboard the USS Ranger in the China Sea in 1967, shows Phil Crosby, Raquel Welch, Barbara McNair, Hope, Madeline Hartog–Bel (Miss World), Elaine Dunn and Earl Wilson.

Charlton Heston was interviewed for the radio show "What's New at the USO," a program broadcast daily for U.S. troops in Vietnam. He visited troops in Vietnam three times during this period.

The USO and the NFL relationship – still going strong–kicked off with Johnny Unitas, Frank Gifford, Sam Huff and Willie Davis on a USO tour to Vietnam. Other NFL greats followed, like Pittsburgh Steeler Andy Russell, a Vietnam vet, who was given an M–16 and rode shotgun from the airport! More than 165 NFL players, coaches, and officials have visited our service men and women.

When "the Duke" John Wayne visited Vietnam, he headed for what was known as the "boonies" to rub shoulders with the troops in the field.

These boots are made....Nancy Sinatra and a GI in Vietnam.

Wayne Newton traveled to Vietnam on the first of his USO tours in 1966 and 1968. He is known to follow up with the families of troops he meets to let them know their sons and daughters are doing well–as he did back in the 1960s (shown, playing electric guitar) and he still does today.


December 1970
Cincinnati Reds super–star catcher Johnny Bench joined Bob Hope in Korea and Vietnam. Their skit "Don't Count Me Out," a parody on baseball, was a great hit. Some troops spent the night at Curry Amphitheater in Long Binh to get a seat for their show there.

Sammy Davis, Jr., described his USO tours as among the most exciting and satisfactory experiences in his career.

early 1970s
Martha Raye was another frequent entertainer in Vietnam, visiting nine times, often spending several months in one visit, and was even issued a uniform. In total, the USO organized 569 shows and 5,600 performances in total in Vietnam and military hospitals in the Pacific from 1965 through June 1972.

early 1970s
Clint Eastwood "made the day" of these sailors in Vietnam (date unknown).

Diahann Carroll performing on the big stage (location and date unknown).

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders made their first trip on behalf of the USO. They have continued to tour annually ever since. In 1997, they received the USO's first Spirit of Hope award.


December 1982
Lou Rawls was a great addition to the USO when he began to tour and lend his support as a USO spokesman in the early 1980s.

The cast of the hit TV show "Happy Days" went to Germany on a USO tour.

December 1983
Two months after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Bob Hope brought his Christmas show to the country, including Ann Jillian, Cathy Lee Crosby, Hope, Vic Damone and George Kirby.

Nashville Network begins to air USO tours on its cable network, extending the programs to millions of viewers and also giving new publicity to USO entertainment. Loretta Lynn was one of the most popular performers.

Randy Travis made his first USO tour during a Christmas tour to Germany and Italy. He continued to tour regularly during holidays, to the delight of his fans in uniform. This photo is from a Thanksgiving 1988 tour to Alaska, Japan and Korea.

May 1989
Brooke Shields began her support of the USO by touring with Bob Hope in the mid–1980s. Here, she is at a birthday celebration with him and USO staff in Wiesbaden–Mainz, Germany.


Comedians Steve Martin and Jay Leno spent time with troops stationed in Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield.

Earth, Wind and Fire doing their magic on a USO tour to Japan and Korea, including to Korea's DMZ.

No matter the conditions, the show must go on. Here, Billy Joel performs in a downpour in the Philippines. As seen in the banner behind him, 1991 was the 50th anniversary of the USO, and of USO entertainment.

Answer: Alex Trebek. Question: What host of a hit game show has been touring on behalf of the USO regularly since a trip to Germany in 1987? Trebek has frequently visited troops and families around the world, some of whom have won the contestant search and appeared on Jeopardy! This photo is from a 1992 trip to Turkey.

December 1996
Sinbad, Sheryl Crow and other celebrities entertained U.S. troops serving in Bosnia.


Robin Williams embarked on his first of many tours with the USO, the first one to Afghanistan and Turkey, to provide comic relief and a show of appreciation to the troops. He has since accompanied Chairmen of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff on many of their annual holiday celebrity tours to U.S. military bases, including in 2007 (pictured here), when he traveled to Iraq and six other countries.

Project Salute, Operation Iraqi Freedom’s first large-scale entertainment tour to the Persian Gulf region, included Robert De Niro, Kid Rock, Alyssa Milano, Brittany Murphy, John Stamos, Rebecca Romijn, Neal McCoy, Gary Sinise, Lee Ann Womack and other entertainers and athletes. Partners included MTV and Vanity Fair magazine.

Country music star Toby Keith went on his first of many trips to entertain troops around the world; as of 2010, he had completed eight tours. He was also instrumental in launching the USO2GO program. Here, an appreciative audience at Forward Operating Base Sharana in Afghanistan surrounded him and guitarist Scott Emerick.

Willie Nelson and Jessica Simpson treated the crowd to a duet at Ramstein Airbase in Germany, part of a performance shown on ABC that included the duo Big & Rich, Jimmy Kimmel and Nick Lachey. Other notable USO shows on broadcast on TV during the decade included the “For the Troops: An MTV/USO Special,” featuring Jennifer Lopez, Kid Rock, Ja Rule and others.

Actors Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr., hammed it up for the camera when they hosted a special screening of their hit movie Tropic Thunder at Camp Pendleton, CA..

July 2008
Sesame Street and the USO began their successful partnership to provide programs and performances to address the concerns of today's military families as they deal with multiple deployments and lengthy separations from loved ones. Here, Elmo comforts a young friend.

June 2009
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert taped "The Colbert Report" in Baghdad, the first time in USO history that a full–length non–news show was filmed, edited and broadcast from a combat zone.

December 2009
USO helped bolster the Fort Hood community for a day of healing with performers that included Nick Jonas, Gary Sinise, Aaron Lewis, children's entertainer Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop, rapper Chamillionaire, comedian Dana Carvey and others.


July 2010
The USO produced the second annual Salute to the Military, a special Independence Day event on the White House South Lawn for service members and their families.

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