Having been in the military myself (USMC), I’ve always had a special appreciation for Marilyn and the time she spent entertaining US troops in Korea in February of 1954. I was excited about adding an item to the MMC that is directly related to her USO tour.
Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Korea Invitation
A 19” x 14” hand-drawn and colored invitation to Marilyn Monroe from the men of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Division, APO 248, U.S. Army, Korea. Note this invitation on the table in the photo below, circled in red.
The invitation reads: “Headquarters and Headquarters Company 2d Inf Division APO 248 US Army. The enlisted men of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 2d Infantry Division, request the pleasure of Marilyn Monroe’s company for lunch at the Headquarters Company Enlisted Men’s Mess Hall 2d Infantry Division Command Post, on Thursday, 18 February, 1954 at 1215 Hours.”
Accompanying the invitation is another panel of similar size with the signed names of approximately 130 enlisted Men of HQ & HQ Co. [FWD], 2d Infantry Division.
In February 1954, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were newlyweds, on a trip in Japan, when the bride took a detour to Korea to entertain the troops. She performed ten shows in four days, in front of audiences that totaled more than 100,000 soldiers and marines. Journalist Hanson Baldwin from the New York Times wrote about Marilyn’s tour: “On two occasions during the visit of the motion picture actress, troops rioted widely and behaved like bobbysoxers in Times Square, not like soldiers proud of their uniform.” Marilyn is reported to have said, “I never thought I had an effect on people until I was in Korea. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
Read about the 2nd Infantry Division here.
Read about the 2nd Infantry Division’s patch here.