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Marie Osmond to visit Battleship Wisconsin 31 years after USO performance

Photo Credit Steve Kuechle - M Osmond with Capt. Schill and BMMC Konopka.jpg
Posted at 5:34 AM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 05:34:57-05

NORFOLK, Va. — Thirty-one years after performing on the USS Wisconsin in the Persian Gulf, country and pop star Marie Osmond is returning to the ship.

Osmond is scheduled to visit the now-decommissioned battleship on Monday at its location outside Nauticus Museum.

The appearance will come just hours before she takes the stage at Norfolk's Chrysler Hall for a Virginia Arts Festival performance featuring her nephew, performer David Osmond, and America's Got Talent finalist Daniel Emmett, along with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Osmond was part of a USO tour with The Pointer Sisters and other acts when she performed on the Wisconsin in front of 1,600 sailors and marines. It was December 26, 1990; just weeks before the ship participated in Operation Desert Storm.

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Osmond performs aboard the USS Wisconsin in 1990.

The performance was part Bob Hope's final USO tour and the last of its kind aboard the Wisconsin before it was taken out of service. The ship was docked in Norfolk in 2000 where it was turned into a museum.

"When I heard it was docked there and I could go see it, that's the first thing I wanted to do," Osmond told News 3 over Zoom ahead of her visit. "People do not understand what those men and women went through unless they were right over there with them, especially for the holidays."

While aboard the Wisconsin, Osmond signed Turret One, joining other prominent names like General Norman Schwartkopf, General Colin Powell, Steve Martin and Dan Rather. Her autograph is still showcased on the ship today.

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Marie Osmond's autograph on Turret One is still showcased on the Battleship Wisconsin.

During her Monday appearance, Osmond will get the chance to meet veterans who saw her original performance. One of them, Keith Nitka, now serves as Operations Manager of the ship.

"I hope she takes away pleasant memories to add to the memories that she's already got aboard the Battleship Wisconsin," said Nitka. "What I'm really looking forward to speaking to Ms. Osmond about is the same memory that we share but the perspective of the memory from her point of view."

Monday's visit is not open to the public. Osmond's show at Chrysler Hall is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available.