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Nevada Historical Society presents High Noon with Neal Cobb: History of the World War II USO Canteen Ladies of North Platte NE

Nevada Historical Society presents High Noon with Neal Cobb: History of the World War II USO Canteen Ladies of North Platte NE

​Nevada Historical Society presents High Noon with Neal Cobb, a wonderful history series that delves into fascinating Nevada topics with local experts. Neal Cobb is a passionate historian and honorary curator for the Nevada Historical Society. He loves all things Nevada.  Join Neal Cobb and our monthly speakers as we explore interesting topics and join in the audience conversations.

October Guest Speaker: Larry Kirk, UNR Emeritus faculty, College of Agriculture
Program Title: History of the World War II USO Canteen Ladies of North Platte NE

 Larry Kirk will share the story about how local volunteers served more than six million service men and women throughout World War II in North Platte, NE. The North Platte Canteen is known to have been the single biggest movement of volunteerism in the United States to date.

On December 17, 1941, North Platte residents gathered at the Union Pacific Depot because they heard that a troop train carrying their own boys – Company D of the Nebraska National Guard – would be coming through. When the troop train stopped, it was Company D all right, but of the Kansas National Guard, not Nebraska. After a few moments of awkward silence, the townsfolk surged forward to share their gifts with the Kansas boys – after all, they were someone’s children, and away from home at Christmas time.

That night, young Rae Wilson went home and penned a letter to the editor asking North Platte to follow the lead of their ancestors in World War I and open a Canteen at the depot. Little did she know that she would be starting an endeavor that would last for 54 months, involve 12,000 volunteers, and serve more than 6 million service men and women.


My parents had a homestead farm on the north end of what is now the US Air Force Academy, North of Colorado Springs, CO. When I was in the 6th grade, we moved to a ranch east of Colorado Springs.

After graduating from High School, I was in the Navy, and following the navy service, I graduated from Colorado A&M (Colorado State University).

I came to Nevada in the early 1960s and was employed at UNR in the College of Agriculture. I am now an Emeritus faculty member from the former Agriculture Communications Service Department.

Prior to coming to the University, I was the Radio Farm Director for Radio station KFKA in Greely, CO. Railroads and railroad history has been a lifelong hobby of mine. I have always thought that my introduction should be of shorter length than the presentation.

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Thursday, October 21, 2021
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Local Interest
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