545TH Military Police Company
1st Cavalry Division
USO Shows Activity
As of March 9, 2012
Throughout the history of the 545th Military
Police Company, the unit has participated in the Security for or had the
privilege of viewing numerous USO Shows around the world. The following
is a short pictorial history of this activity:
Aside from southern California and New York
City, there were not too many USO Shows at the beginning of WW II and
since the 1st Cavalry Division shipped out for Australia almost at the
very beginning they did not have the pleasure of any such activities.
The only on post entertainment they had at Fort Bliss were the Post
Movies or the Service Club.
Fort Bliss Main Post Theater circa 1940 –
1942 photo complements of Texas A&M.
The Fort Bliss Service Club circa 1921 – 1942 photo
complements of Texas A&M.
The 545th MP Company trained 7 days a
week and on top of that provided details to help load ships while they
were in Australia and aside from an occasional pass to Brisbane had very
little free time for shows of any kind. To date we have no record of any
USO Shows playing in Australia that the MP Platoon attended.
There were several USO Shows in the Pacific
like the one shown above with Carol Landis in 1943 but to this writers
knowledge the 1st Cav never got close to any of them. Photo courtesy of
the Bob Hope Collection.
There was one USO show with Francis
Langford held in Manila but the MP Platoon was busy elsewhere at the
time. Photo courtesy of the Bob Hope Collection.
At the end of WW II the occupation
troops saw very few shows with stateside entertainers. There were a few
USO Shows but there is no record to date of the MP Platoon attending any
In the article on the next page from
the Military Police Journal and provided by the MP Corps Museum you’ll
see Bob Hope being presented with a 545th MP Brassard by the 1st Cavalry
Division Provost Marshal, LTC Leslie H. Pearse. Bob never forgot that.
Later on in this article you see the 545th once again providing security
for Bob Hope in Vietnam and at his request!
This Bob Hope USO Show took place in Saigon, Vietnam and
although the 545th did not provide security, many of its members
attended this show.
Although slightly out of the 1St Cav AO,
at the personal request of Bob Hope, the 545th MP Co provides Security
for this USO Christmas Show at Ch Chi Vietnam circa 1969. Bob never
forgot his Cav MP’s from Korea. Note the 545th Helmets in the
Bob Hope in Ch Chi, RVN 1968 and the
545th MP Co was there.
Who can forget Connie Stevens in this famous Red Dress – the
545th MP’s sure won’t.
Sinatra USO Show for the 1st Cav Troopers 1967
And the 545th was
Another USO Show in the vicinity of An Khe that the 545th
MP’s provided security for.
Another photo of the USO Show members
from the group shown above in the vicinity of An Khe.
Unknown to many troopers, Martha Raye of
1940’s movie fame loved the troops and was an honorary member of the
Here she is in her full Special Forces
regalia and how she dressed for her USO Shows.
Martha was also a registered Nurse and often
filled in for the Regular Nurses at the field hospitals
Martha at one of the many USO Shows signing
Note the 545th MP in the background –
probably Steve Jarahian
I have personal stories of Martha! “I
was just getting ready for bed at Command and Control North (CCN),
Special Forces Camp South of Da Nang near Marble Mountain when someone
hammered on the door and said Martha Raye was in our little club, down
the way from my hooch. I was unaware at that time of her association
with SF and thought it was a joke, but everyone who was not there
already was pulling on their pants so I did too. And there she was.
Drinking at the bar faster than most could keep up, in her fatigues and
green beret. And aside from have the famous large mouth, boy did she
have a mouth. One or two SF guys, getting a bit high, started throwing
around some heavy cussing and she threw it back at them even grosser
than she was getting.
She was there a second time during my tour
(Jul 69-Jul 70) and rumor has it that she actually went on a chopper
into Laos to the SF lookout camp, named leghorn. It sat high on a rock
outcropping that was assumed impregnable. SF (really the
MACV/SOG—Studies and Observations Group, cover name) had a radio relay
and lookout post there I think for years, resupplied regularly by
helicopter, which was the only way to get in or out.
To say that
she was take-charge is an understatement. She probably “outranked” the
in-country SF commander, a colonel, when she was there—and she knew it.
But she was dearly loved by all with the green beret and it was fitting
of her choice of resting places and concurrence by the SF community was
Remember Martha Raye?
The most unforgivable oversight of TV
is that her shows were not taped. This is a great story about a great
woman. I was unaware of her credentials or where she is buried. Somehow
I just can't see Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, or Jessica Simpson doing
what this woman (and the other USO women, including Ann Margaret & Joey
Heatherton) did for our troops in past wars. Most of the old time
entertainers were made out of a lot sterner stuff than today's crop of
activists and whiners.
The following is from an Army Aviator who
takes a trip down memory lane:
It was just before Thanksgiving
'67 and we were ferrying dead and wounded from a large GRF west of
Pleiku. We had run out of body bags by noon, so the Hook (CH-47 CHINOOK)
was pretty rough in the back. All of a sudden, we heard a 'take-charge'
woman's voice in the rear. There was the singer and actress, Martha
Raye, with a SF (Special Forces) beret and jungle fatigues, with subdued
markings, helping the wounded into the Chinook, and carrying the dead
aboard. 'Maggie' had been visiting her SF 'heroes' out 'west'.
took off, short of fuel, and headed to the USAF hospital pad at Pleiku.
As we all started unloading our sad pax's, a 'Smart Ass' USAF Captain
said to Martha.... Ms Ray, with all these dead and wounded to process,
there would not be time for your show! To all of our surprise, she
pulled on her right collar and said.....Captain, see this eagle? I am a
full 'Bird' in the US Army Reserve, and on this is a 'Caduceus' which
means I am a Nurse, with a surgical specialty....now, take me to your
wounded. He said, 'yes mam....Follow me.' Several times at the Army
Field Hospital in Pleiku, she would 'cover' a surgical shift, giving a
nurse a well-deserved break.
Martha is the only woman buried in
the SF (Special Forces) cemetery at Ft Bragg.
Hand Salute! A
I did not know this about Martha Ray....thought you
might like to read it.
At the writing of this document, there
are no known contacts with any USO Shows or photographs thereof for this
period of the units’ history.
Just prior to desert Storm a USO Show
was held in Saudi Arabia and members of the 545th MP Company got to
attend this one. There are no photos available at this time.
The Iraq War
One of the USO Shows attended by members
of the 545th MP Co in Baghdad, Iraq.
Another great USO Show attended by
members of the 545th MP Co in Baghdad.
Robin Williams with a Cav Stetson at a
USO Show in Baghdad.
Football Player throws Smirf ball at a USO Show in Baghdad.
MP Co NCO, SSG Rodriguez with General Richard Myers, Chairman, Joint
Chiefs of Staff at a USO Show in Baghdad circa 2004.
Williams on stage at a USO Show in Baghdad, Iraq circa 2004.
There was a USO Show at Fort Hood
that members of the 545th MP Co as well as III Corps MP’s provided
Security and Traffic Detail for which took place on 22 June 1980. Chief
entertainers were Mel Tillis and his daughter Pam Tillis, The Kendals
and Gene Watson. Sadly there are no photos available of this show at the
writing of this document.
545th MP Sp/4 Joe Ward provided personal
security for Pam Tillis most of the day. Joe is a member of our
Bob Hope entertains the troops
(Make sure to turn off the music above, prior
to viewing this video)
This document prepared by:
CPT MP USAR (Ret)
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX