Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vietnam -- Bob Hope And Miss America Shows

Bob Hope Came To Camp Eagle on Christmas day, 1969 along with Neil Armstrong, Les Brown and his Band of Renown; Miss World, Eva Rueber-Staier of Austria, Connie Stevens, Suzanne Channy, Laugh-In's Teresa Graves, and the Gold Diggers, a troupe of beautiful, scantily clad girls.
Cobras from the 2/17th Cav and the 4/77th flew missions around the camp while 16,000 soldiers watched the show.
For me, the most interested part of the show was off camera when Bob Hope saw a sign the men from Phu Bi made up saying some like.  When Bob is here there's always hope. Bob Hope came back and said, Yeah, when the bombs come in, Hope is gone.
The DMZ -- which Hope wrongfully thought was where the enemy line was drawn -- was less than 13 miles away. He voiced is uneasiness over just how close he was to that line.
To this day, I've often wondered that he would have said about putting any show on in Vietnam had he known the enemy was just past his eyesight.
The second show -- the Miss America Show -- happened around the middle of my tour and was so interesting I completely forgot what that one was all about.
Reflecting back on both shows -- and I am not alone on this -- these shows weren't meant for us, they were meant for the folks back home.  We were part of the show. Laugh mikes were placed about us, Hope worked off of cue cards the size of Texas and the jokes sucked.  Hope actually got more laughs off camera than on and the Miss America show was literally booed off stage.
What was real to us were the ladies who became known as the pin strip dolls and the doughnut dollys of the American Red Cross.

They put tours in and served our men serving our country and my hat is off to all of you.

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