As perhaps you remember we Marines in the field saw damn few USO shows or the actors involved. In 13 months I and Lima Co. saw none. The 3d Div. CG (Forward) at Dong Ha was aware of this and made an effort to somehow pay attention to the grunts out in the Fire Bases & jungle by bringing one or two out to see us as long as we had an LZ. He would drop out of the sky without warning – not so much as a “standby” from the battalion CP. All we saw was the helo approaching and the request that we pop smoke, which of course we did.
This picture was taken just after the helo had landed and out jumped CG, 3rd MarDiv (fwd), BGen Lou Metzger with this actor, Hugh O’Brian who was a cowboy gunman in a show I don’t remember; 50’s & 60’s. That’s me right behind him trying to get to a place where he could talk to as many of the Marines we had aboard; probably 100 or so. The rest were on patrol, the North Bridge, etc. You can’t see but he is wearing his six-shooter and put on a show for us, to include a few rounds downrange! He made a few quick-draws, talked to the troops and was an all around good hand. It was obvious that he was very proud to be among fighting Marines having spent most of his time in the rear with the pogues back there. The CG would tell me later that he had one hell of a time trying to get these Hollywood bandits out of the rear and to where the real war was taking place.
As well as I can remember that was the extent of “USO Shows” for Lima Company. We were back in our fighting holes or on patrol 10 minutes later.
Steve Marlin - Sep 25, 2006
I remember this event, That is Hugh O'Brien, the actor who starred in the TV series "The life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" which ran in the late 50's to early 60's. He came out on a chopper, talked to the troops then did some fast draw tricks with his "six shooter". I am guessing the USO brought him out to where we were near the Rockpile. We were so remote and close to the DMZ, we did not get many visitors or entertainers.
Thanks Richard Banks and Doc for posting some great pictures. I have seen a few faces that I remember, but I am not always able to get the names.
Ken Pollock - Oct 4, 2006
Funny how memory is. I remember Hugh O'Brian's visit cuz I was on LZ watch when he landed at Payables. I'm not sure you weren't at Ca Lu but Mike 3/3 was at payables when Hugh landed. I intentionly wanted LZ watch cuz in Da Nang He had girls with him and I thought just maybe. I know where I was cuz after his quick trip, while he was leaving, he had almost reached the chopper when he turned and saw me. He came running to shake my hand, then turned and ran to shake the hand of the second guy an LZ watch. He then turned toward the third guy on watch, ran and half walked to shake his hand, then turned and walked to the fourth guy, shook his hand, waved goodbye, walked and got on the chopper to leave as quickly as he came. And that's the truth, blatt!!!
Steve Marlin - Oct 5, 2006
Col, Ripley, I recall that Lima 3/3 also got a visit from Martyha Raye, actress in movies/TV and vocalist. Perhaps her visit preceded your command of Lima. At the time she was probably in her late 40's or early 50's. She was not a pretty woman, and at the time I thought "Oh great, the guys in the rear get Bob Hope and the beautiful young actresses who tour with him, and we get Martha Raye".
In retrospect, I am embarassed by my thoughts.