Comedian Phyllis Diller died today, at age 95. In the 1960s, she was one of the entertainers who joined Bob Hope on his USO tours, complex operations that required a significant amount of support from various parts of the U.S. military flying services. In a feature we published about that support a few years ago, we included a story about Diller’s 1966 visit to the USS Bennington, and we’d like to share the story about that occasion, as told by the carrier’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Graffy:
Phyllis Diller was invited to the bridge of the ship to view nighttime aircraft catapult and recovery operations. She asked about the array of telephone handsets surrounding the captain’s chair on the bridge that connected directly to some of the more important stations on the ship. She singled out the one that connected to the captain’s plot where the surface navigation was maintained, and was manned 24/7. It was suggested that she call and ask for the correct time, which she did. She was told it was 22:45:52, to which she replied, “Dammit son, I asked for the time, not my physical measurements!,” followed by her signature cackling laugh.