One of our favorite stories from Eugene Jelesnik's treasure trove of memorable experiences comes from his first tour for the USO, when he spent seven months performing for troops stationed in Italy in 1944.

This particular tour was almost his last.He and two other performers, traveling under the name "Three Abroad," had bunked overnight in an empty ambulance because there were no other accommodations.

They awoke awoke the next morning to discover that the American troops had moved out during the night. But off in the distance he could see what appeared to be a Red Cross building, so Jelesnik told his other two colleagues to stay put while he set off on foot to get in touch with somebody who could help them travel to their next stop.

As he made his way toward the building, he noticed there were crowds of onlookers, intensely watching his every step. When he finally arrived, a priest embraced him and said, "We were all praying for you son. You just walked across a live mine field."