Many dates during the war years have important dates for theUSO.
Starting with February 4, 1941 which was the beginning of the USO. On thisdate the USO was now included under the laws in the State of New York (WWII USO).A couple months after it became established, the camps now were up running throughoutthe whole world which happened on October 30, 1941 (WWII USO). With the beginningof the USO it started as a volunteer based establishment however, on November 28,1941 located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the first government-built USO clubswere opened (WWII USO). About a year after this US organization was made the USOOverseas Department then came out on January of 1942 (WWII USO). On October 30, 1941 the highly loved entertainment aspect ofthe USO was now provided. The service was run by Abe Lastfogel who was known asthe “King” of talent agents (WWII USO). There were 4 main circuits in the entertainment that operated during thewar years.
These circuits included: Victory Circuit, Blue Circuit, FoxholeCircuit and Hospital Circuit. The Victory Circuit brought the big shows withfamous celebrities, as well as complete Broadway musicals with as many as 50performers (WWII USO). The Blue Circuit was a Vaudeville circuit that heldcomedians with about 3 or 4 acts (WWII USO).
The Foxhole Circuit was the mostsponsored entertainment effort that would bring performers overseas in thecombat areas (WWII USO). Not only would these shows happen in the setfacilities, but with the Hospital Circuit being provided, they made is possibleto reach out to the military personnel who were hurt in hospitals. The HospitalCircuit gave 5,444 performances for 850,537 patients at 79 hospitals (WWIIUSO). The entertainment aspect was highly encouraged due to the U.S.
troopsfalling in love with the live shows, comedy, singing, dancing, etc. It helpedfor the troops to feel more of the “Home Away From Home” sense that was themain part of this establishment (USO 2015). With U.S. troops being based across the entire world the USOcame out with the Overseas Division. These facilities would help to give thefeel of “home” and bring a little bit of “America” to wherever the troops werebased at that time. Although these facilities would be opened all over theystill would run the same as the in-state ones.
The overseas clubs andfacilities were held in areas that included: Cuba, Canada, Bermuda, Jamaica,Puerto Rico, Trinidad, The Panama Canal Zone, Caribbean Islands, Newfoundland,Northeastern coast of South America, Brazil, etc. (WWII USO). Next were the lounges and the traveler aids which consistedof small offices.
This part of the USO organization handled lots of informationfor rooms, transportation, facilities, etc. (WWII USO). They would also collectinformation to supply for the personnel for emergency aid. These lounges wouldcontinue to give support as well as provide for facilities for use.
Theselounges included reading, resting, writing letters, information services, etc(WWII USO). These type of office areas would typically be held in bus and/ortrain stations due to the access of transportation information on the way tothe designated destination. Although these two services could be categorized asthe same they held different authorities in each. Many services would be provided for each military personnelduring the wartime.
These services would include: mobile, maneuvers, lounges,traveler’s aid, USO Overseas and USO camp shows services. Starting with mobileservices this group was responsible for the morale of the U.S. servicepersonnel (WWII USO). The volunteers for this service would also arrangecarloads of the USO Junior Hostesses combined with the Senior Hostesschaperones that would be provided (WWII USO). The Mobile Service was also animportance for the military personnel also for the needs to be completed ofdelivered mail, shopped as well as the delivery of pets to the servicepersonnel’s (WWII USO).
Raising around 33 million dollars, these clubs andorganizations built in with the USO were very successful. Thomas Dewey andPrescott Bush were the leaders of these campaigns having them come out grand(USO, 2016). Starting with clubs, more than 3,000 communities established clubscalling them “Home Away from Home” for the military personnel during the war(WWII USO). These clubs provided facilities that included: athletic equipment,barn dances, boxing ring, basketball, baseball, religious information, etc.
(WWII USO). Depending on the size of each club there would be a paid directoras well as an assistant director that would become hired through the executivecommittee (WWII USO). These clubs would be held out of barns, homes, churches,newly constructed buildings, etc. (USO, 2016). To this present day there arenow 160 locations worldwide. In the United States during WWII there were numerous serviceorganizations to give support during this war.
However, one of the toporganizations was the United States Organization also known as the USO. Thisorganization, as well as the others offered much needed services to themilitary and support personnel throughout the world (WW2 USO). Being brought into use on February 4, 1941through presidential order, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted our moraleof military personnel to continue to remain high (WW2 USO). Meaning PresidentRoosevelt wanted all service organizations current to that time continuingtheir work due to it working better for this job rather than the originalDepartment of Defense (WW2 USO). The USOhad such a great significance in WWII due to it proving numerous services whichincluded, but not limited to: Traveler’s Aid Service, Mobile and ManeuversService, Home Hospitality, Service to War Workers, Lounges/Clubs, Service toWomen in the Armed Forces, Service to African-American military personnel,Service to Merchant Seamen, Service to members of the armed forces of USAllies, Overseas Service, and Camp Shows Inc.
(WW2 USO). With many clubsestablished within the USO there were roughly around 3,000 USO clubs worldwideand about 160 to this day located (USO, 2016).