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


  • M. Murray

    Christmas 1969. No show for us as we were humping in mountains northwest of Danang. PFC Ricky Glaspey and PFC Terry Joslin both KIA on December 26th. Not a good Christmas. I later heard a recording of Connie Stevens singing “Wedding Bell Blues” at the Freedom Hill Christmas show. Hearing that song stirs many memories to this day. On a lighter note: When Easter came around in 1970 Cardinal Cooke was to say mass at Freedom Hill. Some of us “Mackerel Snappers” were put on a supply chopper and sent to the rear to attend mass. We got there early and immediately deployed to the beer garden. When mass time came around some First Sergeant had to use the threat of discipline to get us to mass. It wasn’t Bob Hope but anytime you could get to the rear with the gear (and have COLD beer) was a good thing. Semper Fi brothers. (USMC 68-72) (RVN 69-70) 0351


  • Joe

    The author was talking about Vietnam and not WWII


  • CHRIS

    Probably 8 week wonders. A real term bootcamp would have had them more squared away.


  • Andy

    Wasn’t it utility JACKET not shirt?


  • John T. Lefker

    Your right Al. They always talk to long and get caught. 1953 to 1957


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