WASHINGTON -- President Reagan joined former President Ford and entertainer Bob Hope Saturday night to help the USO celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The $1,000-per-plate evening was essentially a tribute to Hope, who was the president's guest at the White House.
Reagan saluted the 75-year-old comedian, a friend from his Hollywood days, for 'entertaining troops before there was a USO ... sometimes as a solo act.'
He issued Hope, whom he called 'an American legend,' a special commission to be the nation's 'ambassador of good will to the entire world.'
Ford traded golf jokes with Hope, but hailed his 'countless trips to the most remote areas of the world' to boost the morale of American troops.
More than 900 persons attended the special event to help the United Services Organization -- which entertains and assists American troops and their families -- cap a $10 million campaign drive for the year.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Republic of Korea each pledged $500,000 for the campaign, which will include the building of the Bob Hope USO Center to serve as USO world headquarters in Washington.
Reagan said the USO is 'the very epitome of the volunteer effort' in the United States.