Nearly 80 Years On, The USO Still Keeps Service Members Connected To Home

On a recent chilly evening in Washington, D.C., 1,100 service members from all branches of the military settled in at The Anthem auditorium for an evening with the trappings of home: hot dogs, comedy and country music. It was a modern version of shows the USO — the United Service Organizations — started putting on nearly eight decades ago. The nonprofit has boosted morale in the armed forces for nearly 80 years, playing a role in every major conflict since World War II. Today, it operates 230 locations on seven continents, manned by more than 30,000 volunteers. Bringing laughter to the troops The USO got its start before the U.S. formally entered World War II. When war came, comedy trailblazer Bob Hope entertained the troops from the southwest Pacific to the European theater. RetroNews / YouTube “He wanted to enlist, but President Roosevelt said, ‘Nuh-uh, you’re more valuable doing what you do,’ ” recalled Bob Hope’s daughter, Linda Hope. “So he took that as a kind of mandate to get