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Bob Hope’s USO

Getty Images / Silver Screen Collection

“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.”

Comedian Bob Hope (1903 - 2003) was one of the best known, most loved, and longest lasting stars in the entertainment business. For six decades, Hope made us laugh in movies, on television, and in print. He was renowned for his longevity (he was 100 years old at the time of his death), his love for golf, and his contributions to charity. But perhaps Hope’s greatest legacy is his work entertaining the troops.

Beginning in 1941 and continuing for half a century, Hope headlined 57 USO tours, bringing laughter to the lives of U.S. military men and women serving in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and beyond. And he was deeply proud of this work. When President Bill Clinton named Hope an honorary veteran in 1997, Hope responded, “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.”

As we pay tribute to veterans, we take a look at a few highlights of the honorary veteran’s work for the USO.

1944: A World War II show presented “somewhere in the South Pacific”

1957: In Guam and Japan with Jayne Mansfield

1966: Entertaining the troops in Cu Chi, Vietnam on Christmas Day

1984: Christmas in Beirut

1990: One of his final USO tours, with Rosemary Clooney