Christmas 1972 - Udorn RTAFB - Udorn, Thailand

Remembering our Brothers and Sisters -"LINEBACKER II"

December 18,1972 - December 29,1972

( 11 Days of "HELL" in the skies over Hanoi and Haiphong )


"Holiday Tune"
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Excerpts from Bob Hope's Last Christmas Show - 1972

The Last Christmas Show by Bob Hope as told to Pete Martin

I remember the last Christmas tour in lots of ways. I remember traveling

out to the private island of my old golfing friend, Thai Air Marshal Dawee

Chulasapya, and pressing my footprints into some cement alongside those

of Duke of Edinburgh, Lady Bird Johnson, Edwin Aldrin, and Neil

Armstrong. I remember the eight hundred Seabees on Diego Garcia, sitting

patiently through what seemed like a typhoon, waiting for the show to be-

gin. We put it off as long as we could, but finally there was nothing to do

but go on. When I went out to do my monologue the rain stopped and the

sun broke through - a final stroke of the old Hope luck.

Another thing that made the trip for me was the fact that we couldn't

play Long Binh. Once upon a time we'd entertained thirty thousand

troops at one sitting in Long Binh, but now there was nobody there. That's

the best kind of audience of servicemen - the kind that doesn't exist because

their part of the war is over.

We also played to the worst kind of audience that last year - the airmen

at the B-52 base at Utapao in Thailand. When we got there, we were told

confidentially that they had just lost fifteen planes. The commanding

officer was General Sullivan whom I'd known at March Field, and he was

really uptight. It's a terrible thing to lose just one man, but when you lose

the crews of fifteen planes it's truly a disaster. If they ever needed a morale

boost, it was then, because I believe that those fliers were the guys who

got the job done, who really helped write finish to the war. I don't think

Hanoi would have ever listened to any offer if we hadn't rocked them a little,

because otherwise they had it going pretty good - we had excused them from

any kind of shock for so long.

They asked me to brief the B-52 crews before they went out that night,

so I went and talked separately to the pilots, the navigators, the gunners,

and the radar men. It was an amazing thing: the pilots all laughed at the

jokes, but the radar men almost never cracked a smile. They were preparing

for a mission and they weren't going to get to see the show, so I told them

all of my monologue jokes. Before they left, they did me the honor of naming

their mission the Bob Hope Mission. They were bound for Haiphong, a

very dangerous target, and I found out about three weeks later that they

didn't lose a single plane.

But these are all the snapshots, not the whole picture. The way I remember

that 1972 Christmas tour best is the way it played on NBC-TV when we

got back. Somehow, being the last one, it summed up all the twenty-one

tours that went before it. So here's some of our last Christmas show, just

as it appeared in our script, even the monologue our B-52s interrupted at




January 17, 1973












Monologue from the UDORN RTAFB show:

Music: "Thai travel music"
click for THAI tune

Map: Osan to Udorn, Thailand

Film: Line of military personnel and red carpet to plane

Film: Then Bob, all military personnel salute

Film: Bob is walking with astronaut

Film: American Beauties leave plane

Film: Officers putting leis around the girl's necks

Film: Weapons carrier moves toward camera with sign: "Hope


Hope (voice over): And now let's jump from bleak Korea to

steaming Thailand. Our next gig was an old stand for us, Udorn

Royal Thai Air Base, four hundred miles north of Bangkok on the

Laotian border. Here we are joined by two gypsies, astronaut Donn

Eisele, who is now the head of the Peace Corps in Thailand,

and an exotic singer named Dolores Reade, who moonlights as

my wife. We came to the Far East hoping to join the celebra-

tion of peace, but instead the action was hotter than the weather.

Did you ever try to get off the ground with a monologue while

fifty Phantom fighter jets are trying to do the same?

Film: Udorn monologue

Film: Planes taking off
click "PLANES TAKING OFF" [above] to hear aircraft taking off
[this will give you a better idea of the actual "base activity" during

[this is a large WAV file] (once loaded to repeat TAKEOFFS in
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it "will stay" there (out of the way) when repeating takeoffs

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Music: "Air Force theme"

Hope: Thank you very much. We passed the line . . . There

they go . . . All right, stop this stuff, colonel, or I won't go on.

More planes taking off
[to "repeat" TAKEOFFS click media player icon again]

. . . passed the line there, and a kid said, "I'll be watching

from Hanoi. You couldn't schedule the show for one o'clock,


Anyway, we're happy to be here at Udorn, Thailand. Udorn . . .

that's a native word meaning "Keep the motor running."

There goes another one . . .
[to "repeat" TAKEOFFS click media player icon again]

It's nice to be here. This is the "Home of the Hunters" . . .

That name certainly fits this base, but what are they going to

call it when you get indoor latrines?

How many are gonna take off?
[to "repeat" TAKEOFFS click media player icon again]

Nah, this is the busiest base in Thailand. It must be . . . You

have to wait three weeks to get a reservation at the bathhouse. If

you can't get into the bathhouse, you guys manage to stay clean

anyway. If it isn't the bathouse, it's the crap games.

Really, you men have a very important mission here. Somebody's

gotta protect all the Seiko watches.

Music: "Caissons Go Rolling Along"

Colonel Scott: I want you to know we got another outfit here,

the 7th RFS Ramasun Station. Sign's out there, Bob.

Film: More planes taking off, louder
[to "repeat" TAKEOFFS click media player icon again]
last takeoff - please close media player after playing

Hope: How about that . . . Reminds me I got to send a Christmas

card to Don Rickles . . .

Here's a girl who joined us two years ago on our annual resort

trip. When you see her you'll know why she's such a hit. She's

made it big in the nightclubs and concerts. And now she's made it

big as a regular on the Bill Cosby show. Here she is - Miss Lola


Lola Falana song

Music: "She's a Lady"

Music: "Washington Post March"

Map: Udorn to Utapao

Film: American Beauties get on float with Santa at Utapao,


Film: Wide - angle shot of flashbulbs going off

Hope (voice over): And now it's back to two-a-day. This is our

first night show, which took us to Utapao on the Gulf of Siam.

Home of the B-52s. This was one of our most challenging shows

because that day a lot of B-52s had been lost over North Vietnam

and morale here really needed a boost . . . although it's hard

to tell from this reception . . . How about this for an opening


Film: Utapao monologue

Music: "Thanks for the Memory"

Thanks for the MEMORIES - Bob

(Happy or Sad)!!!

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