4Troops Special Presale Offer

The group 4TROOPS performed the National Anthem at NASCAR's Food City 500 on March 21 in Bristol TN.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and what better gift than the new CD from 4Troops?  Okay, so since it’s only available for pre-sale on Amazon right now she might not get it in time for the actual holiday…but we have a special coupon code that will save you $2 off the retail price!

4Troops is a singing group comprised of 4 US Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, who sing uplifting songs on behalf of troops everywhere.  You may have seen them on Good Morning America and Fox & Friends…and our blog!

Starting today – Tuesday, April 27 – and running until the day before in-store sales begin on Monday, May 10, simply type in the coupon code uso4troo when you pre-order the CD and get this special discount.  We’ll also remind you that Sony Music will donate 50 cents from each sale of the 4TROOPS album in the United States to charity. The donation benefits the IAVA, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and – our favorite! – the USO.

We’re honored by 4Troops’ support and hope you enjoy the video below, when the group performed with Lee Greenwood at Bristol before the NASCAR race…

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USO of North Carolina’s Golf Tournament and “Un-Valentine’s Day” Auction a Huge Success

On Friday, community leaders and golf enthusiasts converged at the Jacksonville Country Club for Marine Federal Credit Union's 16th annual golf tournament, a fundraiser supporting Hope for the Warriors and the USO. (Photo courtesy of Don Bryan/The Daily News)

Ten bachelors and bachelorettes – all current or former service members –  went on the auction block for a good cause: the USO of Jacksonville’s first “Un-Valentine’s Day” auction.  Winning bidders received a date and the Troops serving overseas will be recipients of care packages.

Even a local newscaster got in on the action!  As reported by Eyewitness News 9 in Charlotte, NC: “Nine On Your Side’s Arthur Mondale who served in Iraq in 2003, is an Air Force veteran who wound up on the auction block as well.  ‘It’s not about how much money you raise, because one dollar that we raise tonight is more than I had ten minutes before that,’ said USO of North Carolina Director John Falkenbury.  ‘It is about taking care of our men and women in uniform.’”

This auction, combined with a golf tournament held earlier in the week, netted $55,000 for USO programs.  JDNews.com covered the event, as “community leaders and golf enthusiasts converged at the Jacksonville Country Club for Marine Federal Credit Union’s 16th annual golf tournament, a fundraiser supporting Hope for the Warriors and the USO…Golfers came from as far away as Pittsburgh, Pa.; Charlotte; and Beaufort, S.C., to participate.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Dickerson, executive vice president of Marine Federal, said that the day’s turnout should change the minds of anyone who didn’t believe that the community cared for its wounded veterans.”

Job well done to all of those involved.  Check out the auction action in the video below!

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Bush Library Celebrates the USO!

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is in College Station, TX.

George Bush, 41st president of the United States, and Mrs. Barbara Bush will host an event celebrating the USO and its role in lifting the spirits of America’s men and women in uniform and their families. Event panelists will include Gary Sinise, a film and TV star; Mayra Veronica, singer and model; Major General Jeffery W. Hammond, U.S. Army, chief of staff of U.S. Forces Command; and Sloan Gibson, the 22nd president and CEO of United Service Organizations (USO).

The doors will open at 3:00 p.m. A limited number of free tickets are available in the Bryan-College Station community at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Texas A&M University’s MSC Box Office, B-CS Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Eagle, KBTX, and WTAW. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good - watch the trailer of this moving documentary at http://www.ltdanbandmovie.com/

The event will include remarks from the panelists about the ongoing mission of the USO and an audience question-and-answer session. The forum will be followed by a reception and screening of the award-winning film The Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good, which will be hosted by Jonathan Flora, the film’s director.  The USO event will also have a Mobile Canteen on hand.  Attendees will be able to contribute to the USO’s efforts by donating supplies including toiletries and items to benefit deployed troops.  The items can be dropped off beginning at 12:00 pm at the Mobile USO at the George Bush Presidential Library Center. For a list of suggested items, click here.

Even if you can’t make it to College Station, though, you should be able to watch some of the event live on C-SPAN and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum website.  We’ll give you more details as they become available.

We Offer Up Delicious Dishes and Bowling Parties!

We’ve been busy around the world – as usual! – and a few events seem to be particularly popular, no matter where in the world our Troops and their families are enjoying a USO Center.

Case in point: bowling.  Who knew it was just as popular in Iraq as it in in Italy?

Baghdad Duty Manager Courtney Haueter was talking to a group of soldiers who told her they’d been stuck here for 2 days using the USO computers, phones, Play Station 3 games and had each drunk a gallon of coffee. They had run out of things to do, so Courtney suggested they all go bowling. At first they thought she was joking because they had just come in from a small FOB and there was definitely no bowling center there. So Courtney loaded them up since the next chance at a flight was still 16 hours away. Off to Club Baghdad they went!

After waiting two days for a plane to take them on R & R, these Troops combat boredom with bowling. Looks like they did pretty well!

USO Vicenza thanked its volunteers by throwing a bowling party for them in honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week on Thursday, April 23.  Two of USO Vicenza’s Core volunteers and one of USO Vicenza’s Special Events volunteers were present to celebrate.  U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza’s Arena sponsored two bowling lanes and shoe rentals for the USO to use. Pizza, soda, and a great time were had by all!

A volunteer at USO Vicenza waits her turn to hit the lane during a bowling outing in celebration of National Volunteer Week.

On that same day the USO Warrior Center hosted a BBQ sponsored by the Stuttgart’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS).  Along with the good food, the BOSS volunteers brought warm smiles and great conversation. During the visit there was one wounded warrior who had not been able to get out of his hospital room. He was very thankful to have the opportunity to leave his hospital bed and eat a good meal around friendly faces. Wounded warriors attended – 115.

One hundred fifteen Wounded Warriors chowed down on hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, and sausages courtesy of Stuttgart's BOSS program.

On April 24, the USO Warrior Center hosted a Chicken Dinner sponsored by the Theta Rho International Chapter.  Along with the good food, the Theta Rho International Chapter served the warriors with smiling faces and kind words. One warrior commented that the chicken was so delicious he didn’t want to return home, he wanted to stay here if he could keep eating this type of wonderful food. Another warrior commented “I just had to try the sweet potatoes; they are out of this world.”

One hundred thirty Wounded Warriors enjoyed a delicious chicken dinner with all the fixin's - yum!

Attack of the Show Brings Battlefield: Bad Company 2 to USO Basrah!

From G4′s Gaming with the Troops: “Time for some Battlefield Bad Company 2 with some good company, and we’re talking about the troops at USO Basrah Base in Iraq. Kevin Pereira and Taryn Southern bring a new round of Gaming with the Troops. We wonder who is going to win, the highly trained, highly skilled soldiers or our hosts.”  Check out the video below and a big thanks to Pro vs. GI Joe for making it possible!

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New York Jets Offer Words of Praise and Thanks to the Troops

By Brian Price, Reporter for SNY

The New York Jets have arguably been the most talked about team this off-season. A 2010 trip to the AFC championship, followed by several big off-season moves, and the opening of a new stadium already has the football world talking about a green Super Bowl. Additionally, HBO will be arriving at Jets training camp to feature the team on “Hard Knocks.” But despite all this attention, when it comes to the troops the Jets have remained grounded and humble. They were all eager to take a moment to offer words of thanks and to share some of their own connections to those serving in combat zones and disaster areas.

Jets running back Tony Richardson tells Brian Price about his connection to the military. (Photo courtesy of Ben Leit)

Brian Price: You have several family members in service.
Tony Richardson, #49, FB: Growing up in a military family was the best thing that ever happened to me. My father was a Vietnam veteran and lifelong military man. The little things that he taught me have always stuck with me: if I’m going to do something I’m going to give it 100%. Little things like always making my bed each morning strengthened my character and have carried over to my professional life. From a very young age I was always very disciplined.

My father was a model of consistency. Everyday he was up early, never complained, and his uniform was sharp. He was just the same guy everyday and that taught me a lot about doing things over and over again, but always doing them the right way.

My sister is still in service. She’s at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. She’s the same way and now teaching my nephew the same values.

Sometimes people look at us as being heroes but, and I say it all the time, the troops are America’s true heroes. Without them we couldn’t do our job and live our lives. They lay their lives on the line and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. That’s what a true hero is.

Richardson’s father, Sergeant Major Ben Richardson, was a career army man. His sister, Shonn, is a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army. She’s in line for a promotion to E.A.

Kris Jenkins, #77, DT: My baby brother is part of the air division in Afghanistan. I’m always thinking about him and anybody else who’s serving. I’m just thankful and grateful and I hope they get home safe.

Whatever my biggest problem is, football related or not, it can’t compare to what he’s going through. He’s over there dodging bullets. They call him Goose, but his name is Chance McDaniel. He’s on his third tour so this will be his last one and we’re praying that he gets home safe.

Bart Scott, #57, LB: My father went to Vietnam, so I understand the pain of families and kids who have a loved one overseas. There’s no phrase or words that can be used to thank them enough. All we can do is say thank you and hope they know how much we’re praying for them and how much we appreciate them.

In sports, some say, “We’re going to war.” No. They’re going to war for real. Young men and women, college students, who have bright futures ahead of them and yet they’re willing to pay the ultimate price.

With the war having gone on for some time now people tend to forget because it’s not in the moment. The fact of the matter is there are still men and women over there continuing to fight and die for us. I just hope we get our troops back safely to their families. I appreciate that they’re willing to make a sacrifice that we could never imagine.

Mark Sanchez expresses his gratitude to the Troops with Price. (Photo Courtesy of Ben Leit)

BP: What goes through your mind during the National Anthem?
Mark Sanchez, #6, QB: During warm-ups I’m focused on the game, but it’s during those moments when the anthem is played that I can step away from the game, reflect and appreciate the opportunity to be able to play because of the sacrifices that so many have made.

On behalf of the New York Jets we just want to express our appreciation for our servicemen and women and everything you do for us. We’re with you and thank you for allowing us to have our freedom.

Damien Woody, #67, OT: Hearing the National Anthem is one of the most special moments on game day. Everything that’s happened in history and everything that’s going on today seems to build to that moment. We’re able to play these football games and live out our dreams. We know that while we play a game people are at war. It really makes me emotional in that moment. I’m not just speaking for myself on that. There are a lot of players in this locker room, and many others around in the NFL, who feel the same way.

Trust me, with a lot of family and friends in the service I understand what it takes to do that job. I don’t think I could do it myself. It’s a tough responsibility and it takes a special kind of person to serve. I’m just so appreciative of what they do. I feel privileged to play in the National Football League but a lot of the liberties that I have wouldn’t be possible without the ladies and gentlemen fighting overseas and doing what they do everyday to protect us from foreign combatants.

BP: You’ve spent time with the troops, right?
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, #60, OT: I had a chance to go out to Fort Wainwright in Alaska to speak with men and women of the army. Now I wasn’t on the front but I was on a base. I got a chance to meet not just troops but military families. It was a great opportunity to be face to face with some of the bravest people on earth. I think it was rewarding for them and we went there to show our support but I ended up learning a lot through the experience.

BP: Like what? How was your perspective changed?
DF: There’s still war going on but the news may turn its focus to other things. It’s important to always remain aware that there are still people risking their lives everyday for us whether we hear about it on the news or not.

BP: Do you have some words for our troops?
Calvin Pace, #97, LB: I just want to say thank you. Come home safe. Everybody appreciates what you do by putting your lives on the line, keeping us safe, and keeping us free. God bless.

Ladainian Tomlinson, #21, RB: Look, we’re entertainers that really give the people a chance to enjoy the freedom of watching the game. But from my perspective the troops are the reason we’re able to play this game. What they’re doing is keeping us safe. I maintain my perspective by always keeping an eye on what’s going on with the troops. We’re all so appreciative.

Danny Woodhead, #83, WR: They’re fighting with their lives to defend our country. The troops deserve all the credit they get, and they deserve even more. They can’t be praised enough. We play football and at times it may seem like a big deal but in the grand scheme of things what the troops do is way more important. Thanks for all you do. You make us proud.

Dustin Keller, #81,TE: You sometimes hear an athlete say: “We’re putting our bodies on the line,” or “ we’re going to war.” It’s a game. Our troops put their lives on the line for us. That always has to be appreciated. I have the utmost respect for those in the service.

Shonn Greene, #23, RB: I just appreciate the troops and everything that they do. A lot of people don’t realize how tough it is to be out there. With everybody else back here going about their lives they may not realize it. The troops are greatly appreciated and on behalf of the Jets organization I want to say thank you.

Dwight Lowery, #26, CB: They put their lives on the line for something that’s greater than themselves. We greatly admire and appreciate them. I’m not the type of guy that could go out and do what they do. I have nothing but respect for the troops.

Shaun Ellis, #92, DE: I want to thank the troops for supporting us, having our backs and keeping us safe. God Bless.

David Harris, #52, LB: Their service can’t be measured with words. They put their lives on the line everyday for you and me. We’re all so thankful for the liberties that we have today that the troops provide. Get home safe.

We would like to thank Brian Price of SNY for this post and we’d also like to thank Bruce Speight and the entire Jets front office for their help.