Support Our Troops: Home or Away

 

A special message from USO President Sloan Gibson:

As the holiday season approaches, I hope you’ll take a moment to remember the brave men and women who are doing so much to keep our country and our families safe.  Many of our troops won’t be able to make it home for the holidays this year, so the USO is launching a special campaign to honor their service called Support Our Troops: Home or Away.

Your generous donation of $25 or more will provide a touch of home for troops serving around the world. And if you donate $25 or more to support our troops and get your limited edition “Home or Away” t-shirt in time for the holidays! It’s the perfect way to show your support at a sporting event, at the neighborhood barbecue, or while volunteering at your local USO center.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, the USO stands with our troops in forward operating bases in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world. But we’re also there for troops stationed all over the USA and our heroic wounded warriors who have returned from the front lines.

The USO makes sure that everywhere our troops are, there is a touch of home and a friendly smile to welcome them. We provide free phone calls to loved ones back home, entertainment tours with today’s best entertainers and care packages full of all the things that remind them that they are loved and appreciated.  Your gift will make sure these great initiatives continue to let our troops know we will always be there for them!

P.S. — The final deadline to make a donation to the USO’s Supporting Our Troops: Home or Away campaign and receive your jersey-style t-shirt is midnight on October 31.  Spread the word…

Bringing America’s Heroes Home

The December 2005 team of Moore's Marauders and the U.S.S. Pasadena,in Tannapag Harbor, Saipan. Courtesy photo.

By Joseph Andrew Lee for ON★PATROL

“Leave no man behind” is an axiom that speaks directly to the loyalty and brotherhood of all men at arms. It’s included in the Army Ranger’s Creed, to “never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy,” and if you ask the Marines, they haven’t left a man behind since Lord Nelson was preserved in a barrel of rum after Trafalgar. The reality, however, is a bit less noble. In fact, burial in-place was actually the norm up until the Korean War. It’s unfortunate, but in many wars past we have left some of our troops behind.

In the late 1940s, Graves Registration Service (now Mortuary Affairs) began going back out to the locations where on-the-spot burials were performed in order to dress up the graves and correctly document those buried there, but it wasn’t until the early 1970s that a pro-active effort was made to go out and locate the soldiers who were missing.

The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) estimates that more than 83,000 troops are still missing from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Cold War combined. Of these, 43,000 are considered “recoverable” and efforts are underway through the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) to bring them home.

Because of the sheer volume of the unaccounted for, however, many, like Ken Moore, believe that more can be done. That is why he started the non-profit organization called MIA Charities, Inc., affectionately known as “Moore’s Marauders.” Moore’s cadre of the “best and brightest” patriots are at the tip of the spear, helping to speed the recovery of American heroes from their resting places abroad.

“We will use any means necessary to find, identify, and return to their families the remains of American service men who died unaccounted for on foreign soil in service of our country,” declares Moore on the MIA Charities website.

Locating the remains is the first step in the recovery process, and according to Moore, that’s what the Marauders do best…

Please click here to read the full article!

This Week’s Snag Film: Inside the Pentagon

National Geographic gives you ‘’Top Secret’’ access to the nerve center of the U.S. Military. From its frenzied construction during the height of World War II to the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the ensuing war on terrorism, get an intimate view of the history and intrigue of the headquarters for the United States Military. INSIDE THE PENTAGON is a fascinating, intimate view of the Pentagon’s triumphs, defeats, and challenges.

Remember: you can watch great documentaries like this online any time you want and for FREE from Snag Films.  Let us know what you think!

 

No Dodging a Good Time with USO Basrah

Who's up for a game of dodgeball? (Photo by USO Basrah)

Basrah, Iraq –  Tonight was filled with fast feet, flying balls, and high stakes competition as USO Basrah teamed up with the 2515th Naval Air Ambulance Detachment to bring an exciting spin to typical base intramural sports.

Depending on your elementary school experience, ‘dodge ball’ either brings up fond memories or brings you back to getting pegged in the head in 6th grade.  Either way, putting those same foam balls in the hands of soldiers puts a new ‘spin’ on things, and this week’s event proved dodge ball is far from child’s play.

Over the course of the night, 16 teams raced their way to the middle line, snatched what they could, and gave their best throw, and when the dust settled….everyone enjoyed some barbeque. With such a large turn out, this tournament is the start of something good, a first installment of a base-wide favorite.

Below are some highlights of the night. For more pictures be sure to search for us on Facebook at “USO Basrah.”

One team player surveys his options before letting 'em fly... (Photo by USO Basrah)

"If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball." (Photo by USO Basrah)

It's only a game...or is it? (Photo by USO Basrah)

USO AMC Terminal at Kadena AFB Gets a Makeover!

The USO AMC Terminal lounge officially reopened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 20, 2010. (Photo by USO Okinawa)

During the month of September, our team at USO Okinawa worked hard to upgrade and renovate the USO AMC terminal at Kadena AFB with the special help of a few great volunteers who took charge to make it all happen.

This project was spearheaded by my wife Debbie Kolstad (wife of USO Regional Vice President for the Pacific Thomas Kolstad), volunteer coordinator Shirley Smiley and her husband Tom Smiley, and AMC Command Billy Fisher from DRMO.  They cleaned, sorted, scrubbed, painted, selected furnishings, and arranged and decorated with all of the new furniture.

It was truly a collaborative effort, with Air Mobility Command (AMC) helping to provide for the furniture and fixtures; the Air Force donating and installing carpet for the luggage room; donations of three appliances and a 42″ TV; and donated paint applied – along with wall decor –  by the volunteers.  The space was completed with 17 USO posters from the Arlington.  A huge thank you goes out to each and every volunteer who helped make this happen!

BEFORE: A fresh coat of paint was just one step of many during the three-week process of renovating the lounge! (Photo by USO Okinawa)

As reported by Airman 1st Class Maeson L. Elleman, 18th Wing Public Affairs, thousands of travelers pass through Kadena’s Air Mobility Command passenger terminal. The journey usually includes waiting hours on end before heading to their final destinations.

“It looks really nice, and it’s an inviting place,” Brig. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, 18th Wing commander said at the ribbon cutting ceremony Sep. 20. “In the past, maybe people wouldn’t have used it because it wasn’t as nice, but now it’s more inviting and more comfortable.  Volunteers put their hearts and souls into making it a nice place for Airmen and their families to rest.”

The USO has been a part on Okinawa for more than 50 years, providing servicemembers with an entourage of assistance and information to help ease the burdens of traveling.

“If you just pop in on a Space-A flight, and you end up spending a night, you don’t necessarily know where everything is, so it’s a great source of information,” stated General Wilsbach.

The terminal USO is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Gardner Williams, manager of the AMC terminal and Gate 2 USOs, said people can volunteer to help the USO to keep it open longer or more days by going by either USO on base and filling out a volunteer form. People can also donate money or baked goods to either USO to support servicemembers and their families.

The refurbished main seating area features a flat-screen, high-definition TV with a surround-sound system and Blu-Ray player, several new leather couches, free wireless Internet, an Internet phone. (Photo by USO Okinawa)

Kids now have a special place to play and nap peacefully! (Photo by USO Okinawa)