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Bob Hope
1903 - 2003

Dear Larry:
The August issue of Incoming told about Bob Hope's death July 27 and asked for "recollections." Here is mine.

In mid-December 1967 the 2d Brigade, which I commanded, of the 101st deployed by air to Vietnam. The brigade went immediately to Cu Chi to occupy a vacant area at the base camp of the 25th Infantry Division. On arrival I drove to division headquarters to report that we were on station. The Commanding General was absent so I went to the office of the division Chief of Staff who invited me to sit down. He then said something to me like this: "Colonel, we don't want any trouble with your airborne soldiers. We have some high spirited units of our own, like the Wolfhounds."

I assured the colonel that we had well disciplined troops, and there would be no "trouble" at all. As the units settled in, we started each morning with company runs in formation. Not long after that as trucks carrying 25th Division units came through the brigade area on the way from the field, some of those "high spirited" soldiers threw smoke grenades onto our company streets. Our platoon sergeants who went out on orientation with units of the division reported that in the field their light and noise discipline, local security and other behaviors were far below our standard, so we discontinued that practice.

Christmas was coming, and we got the word that the Bob Hope troupe would be at Cu Chi. I arranged that, unlike the rest of the units in the camp, we would assemble in our brigade area and march to the amphitheater for the performance, which we did, taking our seats in the area reserved for us. I think that by that time the 2d Brigade was well known at Cu Chi for its soldierly conduct, and as far as I know everything went well. Everyone seemed to enjoy the show, and Bob Hope commented with good humor on the airborne being present.

About Bob Hope's show, one feature struck me. His rapid fire, stand up, commentary was assisted by people from his troupe who were stationed in the audience with stacks of huge poster boards on which his lines were written so he could see them from the stage and could keep the jokes coming as they held up new signs one after the other. I had never seen that. But it was a great show, with the familiar pretty girls and a small band. And it helped make more Merry our Christmas at Cu Chi.

A month later our "Ready to Go" brigade task force. happy to be out of Cu Chi, moved by air to the north of Hue to fight under the 1st Cavalry Division. We arrived just in time for the opening night of the NVA Tet offensive. During that offensive and in its aftermath, the brigade distinguished itself, occupying LZ Sally in March. But that's another story.

With best wishes to all Screaming Eagles.

John H. Cushman
Lt. Gen. US Army, Retired
6200 Oregon Ave NW Apt 435
Washington, DC