Special Services (entertainment)

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Special Services was the entertainment branch of the American military. The unit was created on 22 July 1940 by the War Department as part of the Army Service Forces.[1] Special Services not only used their own specially trained and talented troops but also would often engage local performers.[2]

Special Services were one of the few U.S. Army units to be racially integrated during World War II. Special Services opened their first Recreational Officer school at Fort Meade Maryland on 1 April 1942.[3]

Military Occupational Specialties[edit]

Military Occupational Specialties of the Special Services were as follows-

  • 03B Entertainment Specialist
  • 03C Physical Activities Specialist
  • 03D Crafts Specialist
  • 03Z Recreation Service Senior Sergeant

Notable Special Service soldiers[edit]

US Marine Corps[edit]

Within the United States Marine Corps, the Special Services Division was the forerunner of today's Special Services Branch. It was formed on 1 March 1943, with the mission to provide recreational and informational services to Marine Corps personnel for the purpose of maintaining morale.[10][11] As of at least 2004, the Special Services Branch was still active within the USMC. For example, one position within the Corps is the MOS 9913: Special Services Officer, who "supervises and coordinates special services activities involved with command morale, welfare, and recreation programs," among other duties.[12]


  1. ^ P. 415 Emerson, William K. Encyclopedia of United States Army Insignia and Uniforms 1996 University of Oklahoma Press
  2. ^ p.57 Monod, David Settling scores: German Music, Denazification, & the Americans, 1945–1953 UNC Press 2005
  3. ^ http://www.army.mil/cfsc/docs/history_army_sports_program.pdf?bcsi_scan_A4C9E8056B19D97F=0&bcsi_scan_filename=history_army_sports_program.pdf
  4. ^ Dabney Coleman at IMDb
  5. ^ McLellan, Dennis (11 May 2004). "Phil Gersh, 92; Agent With Old Hollywood Instincts, Art Patron". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  6. ^ Writer Carl Gottlieb on serving in the Army - TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews Television Academy via YouTube. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  7. ^ Kovner, Guy (26 March 2013). "Robert Nichols". The Press Democrat. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Seeger, Pete, Cpl". Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  9. ^ Koseluk, Chris. "Rip Taylor, Flamboyant Comic and Host of 'The $1.98 Beauty Show,' Dies at 88". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  10. ^ Page 82, Leatherneck - Volume 44, Issue 3
  11. ^ "Shadow box". army.togetherweserved.com. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  12. ^ "United States Marine Corps (USMC): Officer Job Descriptions". Archived from the original on 21 September 2004. Retrieved 14 April 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Baird, Nancy Disher. "'To Lend You My Eyes...': The World War II Letters of Special Services Officer Harry Jackson." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 88.3 (1990): 287-317, a primary source online
  • Cooke, James J. Chewing Gum, Candy Bars, and Beer: The Army PX in World War II (2009).
  • Cooke, James J. American Girls, Beer, and Glenn Miller: GI Morale in World War II ((U of Missouri Press, 2012).
  • Kane, Liam. "Paving the Way to a 'Good Understanding': Recreation and Australian-American Army Cooperation in the South West Pacific Area, 1941-1945." Australasian Journal of American Studies 37.2 (2018) pp 27–52.
  • Rorke, Margaret Ann. "Music and the wounded of World War II." Journal of Music Therapy 33.3 (1996): 189-207.