A Korean War USO-style show will be presented at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds’ industrial building. All are welcome, tickets are $75 per couple, $50 for an individual and a table of eight is $400. Please RSVP by end of day Monday. Those purchasing tickets may choose to donate them to local veterans. All veterans are encouraged to wear their uniforms and other guests may dress in period clothing if they choose.
The event will include a meal by Bullwhip Catering and performances by Lynn Roberts as “Bob Hope,” as well as The Hot Tomatoes, a nationally recognized dance band. The event is sponsored by Fort Caspar Museum Association and the Friends of the Wyoming Veterans Museum.
Tickets may be purchased at either Fort Caspar Museum at 235-8462 or the Wyoming Veterans Museum at 472-1857.
Bob Smith, 90, of Glenrock was in the U.S. Navy, serving as a pharmacist in California and the Philippines. He skydived in Arizona in February for his birthday and planned to take his wife, former Glenrock mayor Linda Care, skydiving in early August. In their apartment with a floor-to-ceiling Fathead cutout of John Wayne in the living room, we chatted about his experience and the importance of remembering the “forgotten war” in Korea.
Why do you think it’s important to have a Korean War-themed USO show? The story that’s told will make people realize that we had a war there. It was only five years after the end of World War II. When it was over in three years, guys came home, went back to work and that was the end of it. The guys involved were the only ones interested. And then 10 years later we were involved heavily in Vietnam and the president was assassinated, so we were left in the dust, you might say.
Tell us about yourself. I’ve been in Glenrock since 1994 and retired from Safeway in 1996. I retired three times. We left in 2005 to travel and came back in 2012. My wife died four years ago, and Linda and I were married three years ago September.
You were a pharmacist? I was drafted in December 1950, in the middle of “Frozen Chosin,” as it was called, and I was in the middle of my senior year of pharmacy school at Purdue University. There were two Indiana schools where I could study pharmacy, and Purdue was a land-grant university so it was pretty cheap. I think tuition for a summer session then was $68. They let me finish school and I enlisted in the Navy. I served four years as a pharmacist/hospital corpsman, mostly in the Philippines. The only sea duty I saw was the 21 days on the ship to take me to my duty station in the Philippines. I was in California for a year and a half at a hospital before I went overseas. I’m glad I went. I’m glad I did what I did. I spent 10 years in the Navy. I had my family with me most of the time. I came out of the Navy with two kids.
So you were kind of landlocked on the Philippines? We were kind of a dot on the map in eastern Asia. There was a group of flying boats stationed there and they cruised as far north as the South China Sea. If I’d been on one of those, it would have earned me a Korean Ribbon. I wished I would have done that.
You are a busy guy for retiring three times. Tell us what you do. I serve on a bunch of boards, I write a newsletter for the local Legion post. I write a blog (commonsense-reugene.blogspot.com) about all kinds of things. I used to write a column, “Now You Know,” for the Glenrock paper, but the new owners and I got kind of crosswise. I’m currently writing a story about each of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I read a lot, history mostly, and I enjoy sketching.