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The USO in Fargo

10/20/2015:

Once World War II ended, the United States settled into a peaceful existence, but the lull did not last long. By August, 1950, President Truman obtained the consent of Congress for military action in Korea. Men were once again being drafted and heading to war. The nation began to mobilize, including United Service Organizations – the USO. Clubs were quickly reactivated to serve the troops.

The organization got its start in 1941 as President Roosevelt sought a means to improve morale and provide entertainment for the soldiers. Perhaps the best remembered entertainer to go on the road for the USO was Bob Hope, but many other famous celebrities joined in. The shows were often put on near the front, and the entertainers visited wounded soldiers in field hospitals. The organization also opened canteens where servicemen and women could go for a cup of coffee or an evening of dancing. It became a home away from home for soldiers far from their families.

The USO had disbanded in 1947, but on this date in 1950, The Fargo Forum announced its reorganization. Between 1952 and 1953, not a day went by without USO services being offered somewhere in Korea.

During World War II, Fargo had been one of the first cities in the country to set up a USO club. The Community Chest of Fargo supported the USO and contributed a substantial amount of money. No club was planned for Fargo in the reorganization, but there were assurances that service would be provided if troops were ever stationed in the city.

The USO is a nonprofit organization and, while it is not funded by the government, it is recognized by the Department of Defense as an integral partner in providing support for service men and women. The President of the United States serves as honorary chairman. It has remained in continuous service since the reorganization in 1950.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Sources:

Fargo Forum. “USO Clubs Again in Picture.” 20 October, 1950.

USO. "http://www.uso.org/the-organization.aspx" http://www.uso.org/the-organization.aspx Accessed 18 September, 2015.