Over Here, Over There: The United States Service Organizations (USO) and the U.S. Army

Laughter, celebrities and frivolity are the sounds and images many associate with the United Service Organizations (USO) and more specifically the “Camp Show.” These professional-quality variety shows featured America’s most popular comedians, vocalists and actors including Bob Hope, Lena Horne, Judy Garland and Lucille Ball in some of World War II’s most uncertain battlefields. The shows also provided Soldiers a brief respite from the uncertainty that lay ahead and an outlet for stress associated with wartime service.


While the lighthearted nature of the “Camp Shows” may stand out in American memory, the USO provided both places of lively social activity and quiet contemplation to Soldiers seeking a morale boost, religious comfort or a distraction. The USO was incorporated on February 4, 1941, to provide recreational opportunities and resources for World War II service members. The organization combined six social organizations into one formidable group that operated over 3,000 recreational clubs across the globe to provide Soldiers with lodging, food, resources and entertainment.


Learn how the Army values of selfless service and duty were channeled by civilians to support and uplift Soldiers during one of the darkest times in American history. Identify how those values have been carried on since World War II to support Soldiers through times of war and peace.


Explore more free public programs curated specifically for the special exhibition, “So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope.”


Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on September 21, 2022 at 12 p.m. ET.


Register to attend the IN-PERSON History Talk on September 21, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

September 21, 2022 @ 12:00
12:00 pm — 1:00 pm (1h)

ELC, Live Stream, Virtual, Virtual (Zoom)