Thanks For the Memories

Air crews recall their service as roadies for Bob Hope's USO show.

Actress Ann Jillian joins Hope in a duet on the Forrestal in 1984. (Department of Defense)
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I said, "Yes, sir."

And he said, "How old are you?"

I said, "I'm 22."

And he said, "You still got growing pains!"

And that was my nickname until about two months before he died [in 2003]. That was my nickname through 60-some years.

Nobody flew at night [in Alaska] because there were no radio letdowns [and navigational beacons] to speak of, except at Fairbanks and Anchorage, and at Elmendorf [Air Force Base]. So we went over to Valdez, the main port for Alaska.

Bob did a show at about three in the afternoon for about half of the 600 or so servicemen who were there unloading the ships. And we were just ready to leave when the commander said, "Mr. Hope, only half of my troops got to see your show. Couldn't you do another one now?"

And Bob says, "Of course we can!"

And I said, "Bob, no we can't. We can't fly at night up here. We can't go back tonight."

"Oh, sure we can," he says. "It's only an hour and a half over there. We can do that."

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