Roger that Radio

We love sharing stories from the field and this is a good one.  The Pat Tillman Memorial USO at Bagram Air Base found a creative solution to a vexing problem…

Picture a dingy room gazing into fields of nothing, each room has a different view. Your job is to stay awake for 10-12 hours and stare and watch for anything out of the ordinary. You are not allowed to bring your iPod a book or anything that could distract you from your job.

Keeping morale high could be a hard thing, right?

Well…that’s where the Pat Tillman Memorial USO stepped in. We were notified by a volunteer, A1C S. who works in Charlie Sector, that they really could use the USO’s help with procuring radios. I asked him how many towers where in Charlie Sector. There the plan was hatched. We then hit the on base PX and ransacked the electronics department (now when I say department I mean 3 shelves) and purchased the corresponding number of Radios for each tower. Those apparently turned out to be all the radios on the shelf.

After the purchase we loaded up the truck and blazed the main road on Bagram Air Field going a full 25 KPH! (Max on-base speed limit.) We traveled on the pot-holed filled roads around the perimeter (at times there was no road) to get to each Charlie tower.

Surprise! You just received a radio courtesy of your local USO! The Airmen at each Tower were ecstatic and very appreciative of this delivery.  It was like Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa all over again.  These radios have the capacity to play CDs, MP3s and of course your local radio stations. Since it has MP3 capability, Airmen can download music or lectures onto thumb drives and plug it into the radio, thus filling the hours of previously stale air with their favorite jams or podcasts to help keep their eyes attentive and spirits lifted.

After all…improving morale is a USO specialty.

USO of Metropolitan Washington Opens USO Lounge at Joint Base Andrews Airport

Fort Myer, VA – The USO of Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro) today opened its newly renovated USO Lounge at Joint Base Andrews. USO-Metro operates four locations in local airports to assist military travelers. USO Lounges are also located at Reagan National Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

“Intense travel schedules of today’s military put pressure not only on active duty service members, but on their families as well. Since 1941, the USO has assisted members of our armed forces, today we are excited to expand our services to those traveling through the Andrews Passenger terminal,” said Elaine Rogers, USO-Metro president. “I want to thank Maj Gen Jones, Commander Air Force District of Washington and 89th Airlift Wing, whose support made this expansion possible.”

The USO Lounge at Joint Base Andrews will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily. The lounge will be staffed by knowledgeable USO volunteers and offer complimentary services to traveling service members and their families including:

§ Variety of snacks and beverages

§ Wireless internet

§ Two desktop computers with printing capability

§ Copy and Fax services

§ Free books and magazines

§ Shower and towel sign out

§ Toiletry items

§ Volunteers will also assist with transportation, lodging and other questions service members may have

Traveling service members seeking assistance can reach the USO Lounge at 301/981-4686.

Rebecca Hemming helps her son, Levi, 7, decide which backpack to choose as her daughter, Megan, 8, eats ice cream during a USO-sponsored free backpack and ice cream give away at the Youth Center recently. Co-hosted by the Air Force District of Washington, the backpacks were packed with school supplies by first lady Michelle Obama and her daughter. Rebecca is the wife of Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Hemming, Tactical Electronics Warfare Squadron 209 aviation machinist. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Bobby Jones)