Bob Hope Christmas Programs

The USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR-300) is the lead ship in her class of Maritime Preposition Ship. The Maritime Prepositioning Ships carry enough ammunition and equipment to support an Marine Task Force for 30 days, allowing for the rapid deployment of men, knowing that their equipment will meet them in theater within days of call up.

It is one of the few vessels in the Navy inventory which went against long standing Naval tradition to be named for a person who was living at the time of commissioning. This is all the more appropriate when you consider that Bob Hope's first war-time performance was at sea. Hope was on board the RMS Queen Mary in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, beginning WWII. In order to help calm the panicking passengers, hope volunteered to give a special performance, singing "Thanks for the Memory" with rewritten lyrics.

Bob Hope would be best known for his work to entertain the troops. John Steinbeck, who was a War Correspondent during the War, wrote in 1943 "It is impossible to see how he can do so much, can cover so much ground, can work so hard, and can be so effective. He works month after month at a pace that would kill most people."

Bob Hope Christmas's first USO Show was at March Field on May 6, 1941, but it was his Christmas Shows that truly won the hearts of the troops. There is probably no worse time to be away from home, but they also knew they had a job to do. What a shot in the arm it must have been to see an entertainer with the prestige of Bob Hope on stage, wearing fatigues to show support for them.

As long as there was a conflict on the globe where American boys were putting their lives on the line, it was a good bet that Bob Hope would not be spending the holidays at home. Hope and company made it a point to get as close to the front lines as they possibly could. As the Vietnam War was drawing to a close in 1972, Bob billed that year's show as his last Christmas show. Yet every Christmas afterwards he was at a base or veteran's hospital. Despite the controversy surrounding the Vietnam War, Hope managed to entertain the troops without appearing like a hawk.

Of all of the accolades Hope received for his work in both the entertainment industry and the USO, the one that he seemed most honored by was an act of Congress in 1997, signed by President Clinton, declaring Bob Hope an Honorary Veteran of the United States Armed Forces. "I've been given many rewards in my lifetime- but to be numbered among the men and women I admire the most- is the greatest honor I have ever received."

"Christmas at Long Beach Veterans Hospitals"


  1. Love listening to his shows, my escape from reality.


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