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Staff Favorites

A showcase of our most treasured collections selected by VHP staff members. The written descriptions of these veterans’ stories highlight the diversity and dramatic content of our holdings. View additional staff favorites.

Image of Robert B. MCCollumRobert B. McCollum

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Robert McCollum had a unique talent for helping service members forget about home, if only for a few hours. McCollum was first assigned to Assam, India, as a crew chief in the Air Transport Command, once assisting in the rescue of a downed airplane crew in Burma. Then a remarkable thing happened in his military career: After performing successfully in a variety show called “Hump Happy” while still assigned to Assam, he received orders sending him to perform all over India, and then on to Africa, Sicily, and Yemen. The shows, in which McCollum and the other Hump Happy Cowboys performed skits, played musical instruments, and sang songs, were performed for a variety of audiences, including American and English troops, the Women's Army Corps, and the King of Yemen. Although the group broke up and the men were reassigned to their previous bases, McCollum never lost his love for entertaining. After the war, he performed in nightclubs for many years before working with Bob Hope and Jack Benny, as well as Kathryn Grayson, the Lawrence Welk Band, and Freddie Hart, among others.

Chosen by Stephanie A. Weaver, Processing Technician. Stephanie received her B.A. degree in History from the University of Dayton and her M.A. degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. She came to the Veterans History Project in November 2005.

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  The Library of Congress >> American Folklife Center
  April 3, 2009
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