The recent eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland has no doubt thrown a wrench in the plans of thousands of travelers. None more so than Troops stationed around the world who are deploying or returning home. It’s times like these that the USO faces the challenge of serving huge numbers of stranded Troops and we’re proud to say we’re rising to the occasion.
UPDATE: From WUSA 9, “Volcanic ash has delayed many troops heading overseas out of BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport…Some troops are getting hotel rooms, some are staying with friends, and others are taking advantage of the USO lounge.” Watch the video below!
At the USO Liberty Center – located in Terminal A at Philadelphia International Airport – Army Lt. Richard Cobb found himself with plenty of time on his hands as he waiting to continue on to another flight during leave. As reported by Ronnie Polaneczky of the Philadelphia Daily News, Cobb and others saw one connecting flight to Europe after another canceled, with no immediate information on when they’d be re-booked. The stranded Troops who found their way to the USO, however, were weathering the delays just fine:
“I could talk about these [USO volunteers] for days,” said Cobb, 26, who’s assigned to the 95th Military Police Battalion, stationed in Mannheim, Germany. “Their hospitality has been unbelievable. The beds and showers are great. They’re constantly asking me if I want something to eat, if I need a wake-up call, if there’s anything they can do…these guys really deserve the publicity. They do a phenomenal job.”
This support comes at a cost, though, as USO Centers are straining their resources to serve thousands whose flights are delayed. As numerous sources – including WAVY in Norfolk, VA – are reporting, USO Centers like the one at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta are serving up to 1000 soldiers in a 24-hour period, well over the daily average.
Donations of items like bottled water and packaged snacks are especially appreciated in times like this. Click here to find your local USO and learn how you can help!