10Ruby Hume and Norma Herrington, both USO hostesses during World War II, remember their duties when they helped provide entertainment to U.S. troops stationed at the Hawthorne Army Depot.

To the sound of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” each of the ladies graciously were escorted to the dance floor, to be swept around by the Depot’s lone officer, Lt. Col. Gregory Gibbons.

Created in February 1941 under the order of President Franklin Roosevelt, the USO’s responsibilities were to provide programs, services and live entertainment to the troops and their families. Many USO’s were the G.I.’s “home away from home.”

In honor of Armed Forces Day, Hume and Herrington, were honored for their dedication to the soldiers, their community and to Hawthorne. Missing, was hostess Clysta Kruger, who passed away earlier this year, but was honored with her daughter Karen Colbert accepting the award.

The USO service appealed to so many young women, because they had a sense of community and country and wanted to help the war effort and meet servicemen.
Many hostesses met their future husbands at dances, such as the ones of the 1940’s, held at the Hawthorne USO building.

Though a romantic relationship was frowned upon, the hostesses were told to never turn down a dance.

So when Lt. Col. Gibbons asked Herrington for a dance, she gladly accepted.

As he respectfully danced with Herrington, I asked, “Is he as handsome as the servicemen of the 1940’s?”

To that, she answered, “Yes!”

Behind the dancers, a slide show of the depot showed previous commanders, historical highpoints of the depot’s career and pictures of USO ladies.

The hostesses were turned into the bells of the ball on Saturday night, as they shared their stories to a whole new generation.