The namesake of our LAX Center, Bob Hope, a legendary American entertainer, actor, showman, comedian and philanthropist, performed his first USO Show at California’s March Field, on May 6, 1941. Wherever Bob Hope went to entertain the troops, from the deserts of North Africa to Alaska to the jungles of Southeast Asia, he represented home. And, for an hour or so, troops were home with an old friend and comrade.
His signature shows included comedians, singers, actors and actresses, and led the way for celebrities of every kind to commit to giving their time and talent to troops and families around the world.
Hope entertained until December 1990, when he brought laughter and Christmas cheer to troops participating in Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on his final USO tour. In 1997, the USO successfully worked with Congress to designate Bob Hope the first honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces. That same year the “Spirit of Hope” Award debuted at the USO Gala. It is a portrait bas-relief image of Bob Hope, created by St. Louis sculptor Don F. Wiegand and Michael Fagin, and is presented to distinguished Americans whose patriotism and service to the troops reflects that of Bob Hope.