USO Pacific Tour – Candy Jones

Candy Jones

By Sgt. Al Hine

YANK Staff Writer

Candy Jones was just back from a USO tour of the Pacific when I saw her, and with rare originality I said to her, “How are you?” She said, “Fine.”

Well, maybe she was telling the truth, and anyway who am I to be calling a beautiful model like Miss Jones a liar, but if she was feeling fine, she must have been pressing the old will power to its limit. The fact is that Candy had one of those Pacific trips that GIs usually are thinking about when they say, “Why doesn’t anyone ever print how lousy things are?”

She took off from the West Coast in November of 1944 and got back, a couple of months after the rest of the troupe she started out with, in August 1945. In this comparatively short time, she managed to get involved in two minor earthquakes, to lose the top of her dress on stage, and to spend a month in GI hospitals on Leyte and Morotai and in sick bay on the U.S.S C.H. Muir, the troop ship she came home on.

Candy Jones

Candy’s time on sick call was not goldbricking but the result of one of those nice little Pacific gadgets which medics diagnose as “fever of undetermined origin” and treat like malaria, coupled with a nasty case of eczema. A dame columnist in New York, shortly after Candy’s return, printed as an item that the showgirl-model was suffering from “jungle rot.” Possibly this made the eczema sound more romantic to the columnist, but eczema it was.

Candy threw off the fever in pretty good shape. “It only had me scared once, when I thought my hair was all going to fall out,” she said, “but after I lost a little, it stopped falling and everything was alright.”

The eczema left large areas of pale white on Candy’s otherwise sunburned chassis and this is possibly what caught the columnist’s eye.  It caught other eyes too, namely the eyes of photographers for whom Candy made a living posing.

“I won’t be able to pose for any color work till I begin to get even again, ” she said.

By the time all this info had come out, I was ready to ask Candy if she stuck by her original statement that she felt fine.  She said she did.

“It was a good trip and the GI’s we met were wonderful.  They gave us a swell hand everywhere, except sometimes in the hospitals.  I don’t see why I shouldn’t say that about the hospitals either.  It’s the truth.  Lots of guys who had been wounded were bitter and you couldn’t blame them.  They’d look at you when you came in with a sort of “Well, who the hell do you think you are?”

“We played regular shows nights and hospitals during the day.  After the regular shows, we’d get a chance to gab with the GI’s and stuff.  There was almost an even balance between officers and GI’s among the people we got a chance to know.”

“How about the earthquakes?” I asked.

“One was at Leyte,” she said.  “I was in bed when it happened and I almost fell out, but not quite.  The other was at Finschhafen, our first stop after Hollandia.  It was funnier because it was the first time I ever experienced an earthquake and I was in the johnny when it happened.”

“I was in the johnny and there was this crash and things started shifting around.  For a minute or two I thought I had jungle fever.  I pulled myself together, ran out and found it was only an earthquake.”

Candy’s itinerary ran from Brisbane to Leyte, hitting most of the whistle stops along the way.  The gang she was with was called “Cover Girls Abroad”.  The original destination was such a dead secret that Candy guessed wrong by thinking it was the ETO.  When she arrived at the dock, complete with woollies, she was flabbergasted to find she was headed for hotter Pacific.

Candy Jones

“Somebody got a surprise poking around that dock we left from”, she said.  “When I found out where we were going, I got rid of some of my luggage, women’s winter woolies.”

The Cover Girls played over 30 installations.  The troupe did vaudeville-type stuff – juggling, acrobatics, songs and black-out skits.  But it was a wedding number that Candy lost the top of her dress.

General Hospital dispensary/blood bank. Hollandia, New Guinea, 1945

“When the frame (for the ‘wedding picture’) went down,” she explained, “it hooked on top of the dress and took it with it.  I went through the number, sweetly holding up the shreds of camouflage.  After that time, we did the number in a reworked model of the same dress, the only strapless wedding dress I’d ever seen.”

Just as our interview was winding up, I thought of one more question: “How had she liked spending Christmas overseas?”

“Well, it wouldn’t have been bad really if I hadn’t gone and tried to be so smart.  You see, I was staying with the 334th General Hospital in Hollandia.  Christmas Eve had been rough.  We had carol singing and whipped up a bit of the spirit of the season and then they brought in some casualties.  Somehow it seemed worse than ever – no matter how many wounded men you might have seen – to see them on Christmas Eve.”

“But Christmas Dayed started out well.  The guys in the mess were buzzing around with their preparations for a real Christmas dinner – turkey and everything.  It sounded wonderful and I could hardly wait.  In fact I didn’t.  A friend asked me to go to the officer’s club for dinner at noon and thinking I’d be able to wolf down 2 Christmas feast, I accepted.”

“The officer’s club lunch was corned-beef hash; they’d have their turkey in the evening.  But I could dream of dinner at the hospital.  But when I returned to the hospital, I found that they had already feasted on turkey at noon.”

++++++++++

Candy Jones made another trip with the USO during the Vietnam War.  She passed away from cancer on 18 January 1990.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Saying Goodbye to the Best –

Bob Hope in Heaven

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joshua Beale – Carrollton, VA; US Army, Afghanistan, 3rd Special Forces Group, KIA

Henry A. Courtney Jr. – Duluth, MN; USMC, WWII, PTO, Medal of Honor, KIA

Elwin Duhn – Grand haven, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne Division, 2 Purple Hearts

Martin Freed – Cleveland, OH; US Air Force

Rosemary Gancar – Mt. Sterling, KY; US Army Air Corps WAC, flight line mechanic

Edward Hock – Lewisburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. F/187th/11th Airborne Division

Ralph Jordon – Enfield, CT; US Army, Korea, Co. C/187th RCT

Edward Loeb – Berkeley, CA; US Navy, WWII

Charles Muehlebach – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, PTO, 40th Infantry Division

Bill “Tiger” Watson – UK; British Army, WWII, ETO, Commando, POW,

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 28, 2019, in Home Front, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 90 Comments.

  1. Vety interesting scope on entertainment, pre Bob Hope. This share reminds me of good old movie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brave, was she! Just as beautiful on the inside, as she was on the outside, and even more so!

    This is a lovely post.

    💜 ♥️ ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great cartoon. Interesting story too, I never realised these tours could be so harrowing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for posting about her, GP. She seems like she was a real trooper! 🙂

    Great cartoon at the end. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. She was a real trooper. I loved watching all the Bob Hope shows overseas.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. GP, what a wonderful story of spirited Candy Jones! Reading personal accounts like this supporting our troops is heartwarming. Thank you! 📚 Christine

    Liked by 3 people

    • The USO was there giving our troops the morale boosts they so richly deserved. Candy had so many fantastic traits of that generation, I just had to her story. Thank you for reading the article, Christine.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is just a wonderful piece of history which is often forgotten about. Thank you

    Liked by 3 people

  8. She had an incredible spirit and fortitude. I had to laugh when she realised ‘it was only an earthquake.’ Not many would use only and earthquake in the same sentence!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Doing those shows turned out to be a rash move for her! Another epic slice of the life and times.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Yes, I’m sure Bob Hope will be doing his act to the armed forces up there in heaven. And all credit too, to Candy Jones for giving up her time to the troops out there in that jungle paradise. She must have been their prettiest visitor!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I love her attitude and spirit AND her giving heart! Beautiful inside and out! 🙂
    I’m not so sure the young models and actresses today would do sign up and do all of that with the grace and courage Candy did. Some of the young ones today are so shallow and caught up in looks, make-up, selfies, possessions, money, etc. 😦
    I’m so sad she died of cancer. 😦
    And that Bob Hope cartoon made me smile and get teary-eyed at the same time.
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 4 people

    • She showed the best traits of that generation, I agree. Nowadays, the USO is still in operation, we have troops stationed around the world – just how many of those models go today is evident.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Servicemen always enjoyed being entertained by lovely ladies or great musicians. In our small town, Fletcher Hospital was built in 1943 to treat wounded soldiers. They had performers such as the Tommy Dorsey Band, Gene Krupa, Sammy Kaye and Peggy Ann Garner. The hospital had 2,000 beds and numerous buildings on 255 acres.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Remarkable woman. Great attitude, a generous of heart. Thanks for sharing this about her.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. That last man in the Farewell Salutes section, was the last survivor of the St Nazaire raid, the ship used the HMS Campbelltown was one of those 50 lend lease destroyers that we got from the USN.
    They removed a couple of funnels and dressed it up to look like a German destroyer.

    It was an amazing raid. It was known as the greatest raid of all.

    The main troops were as the CO; Colonel Newman VC of the Essex Regiment called them his brave Barking boys,they came from the town of Barking Essex, where I lived.

    Tiger Watson was a 20 year old Second Lieutenant who went on to become a doctor a fascinating history of the man:-

    https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/shrewsbury/2019/01/02/shrewsbury-hero-of-the-greatest-raid-of-all-dies-at-97/

    Thanks GP ; again 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What a terrific interview with a wonderful person, GP. I love the Navy singers.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Candy’s story is an amazing one that needs to be told and retold.

    I liked the Bob Hope in Heaven

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Quite a contribution. I echo the others, not sure we’d see much of this today. I guess everybody was in that war.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. A celebrity model who devoted personal time and suffered health issues in an effort to uplift others…? A rarity (if any?) in modern times. A great lady.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Much more than just a looker

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Kudos to these folks who do these tours. They’re still a big deal to our soldiers.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. She had a great attitude, GP, and despite all the illness and challenges, I’ll bet she never regretted going. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. A nice tribute to a doughty lady, she faced the risks that came with entertaining the troops.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Great post! I would’ve loved seeing Candy when she visited Vietnam. Unfortunately, being a rifleman with a Marine line company along the DMZ, we never got anywhere near any of the USO shows. Bob Hope is probably my favorite entertainer of all time. Fortunately, several years after my Marine Corps days, Hope and his entourage did a show at Eglin AFB in the FL panhandle. It was only sixty or so miles away. I enjoyed what I could hear of the show (terrible acoustics inside a huge aircraft hanger), and after the show I was able to shake his hand. To me, Bob Hope and those who appeared with him during the wartime shows will forever be heroes to me. By the way, Candy Jones was some doll! 🙂
    –Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Oh wow I love this. Candy what a name it fit with what she chose for a profession. I love that you have actual photos of them. This is wonderful love this post! Happy Monday to you! (◡‿◡✿)

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Great information. Thank you, GP!
    Troop support like this is said to have been done by Marilyn Monroe.
    Ever since we had a woman in the office of defense in Germany, it seems to be taking over the cumulative. ***lol*** Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I admire those members of the USO tour. They gave their time and talent to give our troops a break from the horrors of war. Just starting to read Bob Hope’s book. The title fits perfectly, “Don’t shoot, it’s only me.”

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Wow, that was some experience. I couldn’t help but wince a bit at some of the sexism in here (dame columnist, for example), but I recognize it as a product of its times, which makes it very interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. ha, you had me smiling. earthquake in the johny, losing the top of her dress and missing the turkey….at least she sounded like she had a great sense of humor.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Great story. I enjoy reading about folks who supported the war effort in other ways than fighting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nearly every single person in the countries involved in this war were somehow connected to it. If they weren’t fighting, they were producing and supporting. It was a time of a horrendous war, but also of unity. IMO, unity of which we will never see again.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I loved that column. So much reporting seems to have an agenda; that was just good newspaper work. Perhaps, however, it was made easier by Candy, a wonderful subject.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. i love her spirit, in spite of all the adversity, she saw the positives

    Liked by 3 people

  32. A girl with all the best traits of that generation, much appreciated, Ian!!

    Like

  1. Pingback: FEATURED BLOGGER REPORT: USO Pacific Tour – Candy Jones By Pacific Paratrooper | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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