Bob Hope - Operation Big Cheer

Bob Hope - Operation Big Cheer

We were all looking forward to Bob Hopes show. A WW2 icon. My buddy and I just came off shift and were wandering around complete with M14’s over shoulder. We wandered into the theater area. We saw some rows of chairs set up. No one was around. I saw a Utility shirt hanging on one of the chairs. On closer inspection I saw Lt. Bars on the collars. What caught my attention was an Operation Big Cheer attached to the front pocket with a pin. Being a resourceful L/Cpl, I removed the tag and put it on my shirt. My buddy had a fit but it didn’t faze me. We wandered into a tent area looking around. A guy came out of a tent. I knew immediately that it was Jerry Collina by his mustache and eyes. He smiled and talked to us. My buddy told him what I did.

He laughed. He took us into the tent. I met Jack Jones, Miss World and an actress from Days of our Lives I think. I also met Les Brown and several girls. Dancers I guess. Then all of a sudden the tent door flew open. Wow, it was Bob Hope who was cursing like a Marine because he was late. He was told our story and he just shook our hands and laughed. He was impressed with my effort. He put his arm around our shoulders and we had two chairs in the stage wing. We watched the show from there. I got autographs from him and other stars on that tag. It was later list in s divorce. This memory will be with me till I die. Bob Hope was a wonderful man and loved Marines. God Rest his soul. Thanks for reading and Semper Fi to all, including Mr. Hope.

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  • 1stLt Gerald F. Merna USMC (Ret).,(Mustang MGySgt)

    Enjoyed these wonderful comments. Quite a few celebrities visited Vietnam while I was there (1966-1967) for what was called, “Handshake Tours,” meaning just that–they would be escorted from different military service unit areas to literally “shake the hands” of our Soldiers, Sailors and Marines and thank them for their service. I had the privilege of escorting several such dignitaries as Robert Mitchum, Robert Stack, Henry Fonda, Wendell Corey, Roy Rogers and his wife Dale, and also Heavyweight Boxing Champion Floyd Patterson (youngest and oldest champ). I wrote a “pictorial”that includes pictures of some of them, titled, “A Great Marine General Died in Vietnam,” which can be seen by pasting this link into your browser:

  • Chuck Gibson

    In reply to John T. Lefker.
    John, Where did you do Boot Camp? I did Parris Island Nov 53 Plt 440, graduated 18 Jan54. Then to Camp Pendelton. Next to Korea, Hdq.Co.1 st Engneers Bat. Any chance we could have croosed paths? Chuck Gibson Cpl. 1953 to 1957

  • Sgt. Wolf aka Bob Rader

    In reply to D H Gilmour.
    Wrong. After Sgt. rank was SSgt, then TSgt (E-6) and MSgt (E-7). Gunnery Sgt. was a billet not a rank until the pay groups were expanded.

  • Mike M

    In reply to Bob M.
    Bob, Amen brother.

  • Bob M

    In reply to CHRIS.
    I was an “8 Week Wonder” Jan/Mar 1966. According to our D.I.’s they crammed 12 weeks of training into 8 weeks. We trained instead of having inter-platoon games on Saturdays and drilled on Sunday afternoons. Everything was push, push, push. Also, the “8 Week Wonders” bled red and died dead just like the rest.

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