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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20 comments


  • Mike M

    In reply to CHRIS.
    Chris, can you explain your “8 week wonders” remark? Also, “real term boot camp?” Were many of our 58,000 lost brothers “8 week wonders?” If so, it’s a shame they were not as you say, “more squared away.”


  • BRENDAN MC CARRON. 1ST MAW DANANG VIETNAM. 1966-1968.

    In reply to WD Walter.
    MR WALTER I SECOND YOUR STATEMENT. TO MANY KNOW IT ALL MARINES WITH A MIND SET OF NIT PICK IN. WHO GIVES A SHIT IF IT WAS AN M1 M5 M14 OR M16. THEY ALL KILL THE ENEMY THE SAME WAY——-DEAD. SEMPER FI GUYS EVEN YOU OLD FARTS LIKE ME AND PROUD OF IT. 1ST MAW DANANG 66—68. LOTS OF GOOD CLEAN FUN. IF YOU BELIEVE THAT I HAVE A BRIDGE YOU MIGHT WANT TO BUY. IT’S CALLED THE TAPPEN ZEE. THE OLD ONE NOT THE NEW ONE. GO HAVE A COLD BEER ON ME.


  • D H Gilmour

    In reply to D H Gilmour.
    BTW the L/Cpl. rating, an original rank in the Corps in 1775 through the civil war area, came back in 1957. During WWII the rank was Pvt.(E-1), PFC (E-2), Cpl.(E-3), Sgt.(E-4), Tech or Staff Sgt.(E-5), GySgt.(E-6)., etc., etc..


  • D H Gilmour

    In reply to B. Mullen.
    The L/Cpl. did not say he was in WWII but that Bob Hope was a “WWII ICON”. I saw him at Hill 327 (Freedom Hill) Da Nang Christmas show 66 and almost got killed getting there. My Dad saw him during WWII and one of my mother’s bothers saw him in Korea. BTW I was armed with the M-14 my whole four years (64-68) as a T/O weapon, and in Nam also variously used the “Grease gun” .45 cal. submachine gun and an Ithica 12 gauge pump and carried a S&W mod 27-2 .38/357 revolver. MAG-16, I-Corps 66-67. ^^ show–Phyliss Diller, Joey Heatherton, Miss Universe an Asian Indian girl, and a few others, and of course Les Brown. Diller almost caused a riot in her “bird leg” costume. Said something to the effect that she needed some loving and the guys surged toward the stage.


  • W J Sikes, Cpl

    Dec 1968 Bob Hope’s Christmas Show was at Freedom Hill. At the time I was stationed at the logistics center Camp Books also known as Red Beach although the beach was more pink than red. I was about 3/4s of the way up the hill and had a pair of beat up and almost useless binoculars. Ann Margaret was dancing and singing in a very thin outfit and I was fortunate there was a jarhead with a hugh pair of what I think were artillery binoculars on a tripod very close to my position. My memory is he charged two US dollars for one minute which I gladly paid. Could be a little off on the rental price but worth whatever the going rate was.


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