Bob Hope and Ann Jillian perform at the USO Christmas Tour during Operation Desert ShieldTo support troops participating in Operation Desert Shield, USO centers opened in Saudi Arabia. Entertainers performing for the troops included Jay Leno, Steve Martin, Delta Burke, Ann Jillian, Gerald McRaney, Marie Osmond, the Pointer Sisters, and Bob Hope on his final USO tour.
Afghanistan and Iraq To support troops participating in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, USO centers opened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. USO centers number more than 160 around the world. Recently the USO opened centers at Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Riley, Kan., Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colo.; and centers in Afghanistan. The USO provides a variety of programs and services, including orientation programs, family events, free Internet and e-mail access, free drinks and snacks, free phone calls home and recreation services. One of the newer programs, called "USO in a Box," delivers program materials ranging from DVD players and videos to musical instruments to remote forward operating bases in Afghanistan.
U.S. military personnel and their families visit USO centers more than eight million times each year.
From June 8 to 11, 2009, T.V. personality Stephen Colbert traveled to Iraq to film his show The Colbert Report for four days in a USO sponsored event.
Other entertainers who have traveled to the Middle East to perform include Al Franken (who made six USO tours in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan before being elected a United States Senator from Minnesota), Craig Ferguson, Gary Sinise, Zac Brown,Jessica Simpson, Carrie Underwood, Drowning Pool, Toby Keith, Montgomery Gentry, Kellie Pickler, Mayra Veronica, Carlos Mencia, O.A.R., Dave Attell, Trace Adkins, Kathleen Madigan, Louis C.K., Dane Cook, Lewis Black, Third Day, Colin Quinn, Kathy Griffin and Neil McCoy.
The USO is also providing services for the annual "Tribute to the Troops" special of World Wrestling Entertainment. They have aired WWE RAW from Afghanistan and Iraq every Christmas in the United States in a pre-taped show from the combat zone.
On July 16, 2012 Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen announced that he will donate at least $1 million dollars to the USO. This will be among the largest single donations ever given to the troop morale-boosting organization.
 Honoring Bob HopeIn 1996, the U.S. Congress honored Bob Hope by declaring him the "first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces." According to Hope biographer William Faith, his reputation has become ingrained in the "American consciousness" because he had flown millions of miles to entertain G.I.s during both wartime and peace. His contribution to the USO began in 1941 and ended with Operation Desert Shield in 1991, spending 48 Christmases overseas with American service personnel. He was always treated as "an asset to the U.S. Government with his willingness to entertain whenever they needed him." After WWII was declared over, the USO had sent out an "impassioned bulletin" asking entertainers not to abandon the GIs now that the war was over. Hope was among the first to say yes. The Military Order of the Purple Heart notes that "his contributions to the USO are well known: they are legend."
As a result of his non-stop entertainment to both the civilian population and the military, he received numerous other honors over the years: a C-17 Air Force plane was named The Spirit of Bob Hope; a naval vessel was named the USNS Bob Hope; and streets, schools, hospitals, and a golf tournament were also named in his honor. A Senate resolution declared him "a part of American folklore." The Guinness Book of Records called him the most honored entertainer ever. And during his 1993 televised birthday celebration, when he turned 90, General Colin Powell saluted Hope "for his tireless USO trouping", which was followed by onstage tributes from all branches of the armed forces. General William Westmoreland spoke about his loyalty to the GI throughout the gritty Vietnam years. And bandleader Les Brown, who was with him during many of his tours, mentioned that his band "had seen more of Hope's ass in the last forty years than any of Hope's immediate family."
War correspondent Quentin Reynolds wrote in 1943, "He and his troupe would do 300 miles in a jeep, and give four shows... One of the generals said Hope was a first rate military target since he was worth a division; that that's about 15,000 men. Presumably the Nazis appreciated Hope's value, since they thrice bombed towns while the comic was there."
During the Vietnam War years he gave a number of high-rating television specials and sensed that the media had given him a broad endorsement for continuing on his GI mercy missions. Soon after his Christmas show in Saigon in 1967, he learned that the Vietcong had planned a terrorist attack at his hotel against him and his entire troupe, missing him by ten minutes. He was later "mystified," writes Faith, "and ... increasingly intolerant of the pockets of dissent. Draft-card burnings on college campuses angered him..." "Can you imagine," Hope wrote in a magazine article, "... that people in America are burning their draft cards to show their opposition and that some of them are actually rooting for your defeat?" In the spring of 1973, Hope began writing his fifth book, The Last Christmas Show, which was dedicated to "the men and women of the armed forces and to those who also served by worrying and waiting." He signed over his royalties to the USO.
His final Christmas show was during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. The show was not easy, notes Faith. "There were so many restrictions. Hope's jokes were monitored by the State Department to avoid offending the Saudis... and the media was restricted from covering the shows... Because in Saudi Arabia national custom prescribes that women must be veiled in public, Ann Jillian, Marie Osmond, and the Pointer Sisters were left off Hope's Christmas Eve show."
In 2009, Stephen Colbert performing his last episode of weeklong taping in Iraq for his The Colbert Report show, carried a golf club on stage and dedicated it to Bob Hope's service for the USO.