Breaking Ground for Operation Enduring Care

Breaking ground for the USO Wounded Warrior & Family Center at Fort Belvoir, VA

Today the USO broke ground on the first stateside Wounded Warrior & Family Center in Fort Belvoir, VA. More than a traditional USO center, the building will be a space for wounded warriors and their families and caregivers to go to relax, heal and plan for the future in a home-like atmosphere.

The groundbreaking kicks of the USO’s Operation Enduring Care, a $100 million initiative to support wounded warriors and their families, including those suffering from both visible and invisible wounds of war. Learn more about the event and see more pictures at USO.org. – Vyque White, USO

Updated USO Center at Dulles International Airport Welcomes Military Families

The USO center located at Dulles International Airport has expanded its lounge and by doing so, has doubled the amenities that it can offer transitioning troops and their families. Click over to the USO Metropolitan Washington site for all of the details.

View the video from the D.C.’s local CBS affiliate’s story on the renovation.

Volunteer Warrior

Pfc. Plack working at a USO Fort Hood center (Photo Credit: Pfc. Bailey Jester)

Pfc. Phillip Plack volunteered to serve his country in a time of war.

“I joined for lots of reasons,” Pfc. Plack told the USO about his March 9, 2010 enlistment. “One person in my family has always joined the military; my grandpa was in it – both my grandpas – their dads, my uncle was in it.

“I joined with pride,” the 20-year-old soldier continued. “Heritage and history have always been my thing.”

Immediately upon arriving at Fort Hood in Texas to serve with Troop B, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Plack saw another opportunity to volunteer.

“When I got here to Fort Hood, the USO was the first building I went to,” he recalled.

His love for heritage and history made his decision to volunteer at one of the USO’s three Fort Hood centers an easy one.

“I’ve known about the USO for a long time because my Grandma was a big Bob Hope fan,” he said.

Just like his four years volunteering at a hospital back home in Kansas City, Mo., Plack fully dedicated himself to lifting the spirits of everyone around him. Right away, people took notice.

“I love Phillip, he’s like one of my kids,” Robin Crouse, Director of USO Fort Hood centers, said. “He’s our go-to guy when we need something.

“He doesn’t have a car and walks all the way from his barracks room to do this,” she continued. “What touches me the most is that he’s very genuine with his service to the USO. He’s taking care of his battle buddies.”

From answering phones to helping keep things clean, Plack has worked alongside other dedicated USO Fort Hood volunteers, which earned him a recommendation for the Army’s Outstanding Volunteer Award. But what means the most to this soldier of compassion is the conversations he has with those who utilize all the USO centers have to offer.

“Sharing their experiences, my experiences, and giving them to other people who come in asking what they can do at Fort Hood,” Plack said was the favorite aspect of his volunteer work.

Pfc. Phillip Plack could deploy overseas as early as this summer. Yet wherever he ends up, you will probably find him inside a USO center, with a giant smile on his face.

“There are a lot of hard times, because you’ve got to hear about all the incidents that happen overseas and about people not being able to come home,” he said. “But then you see the smiles on the faces of people here when we get through the day. The USO itself is always smiling.” - Tom Sileo, USO

Recognize A Military Dad in Your Life

In honor of our courageous military, Gillette will proudly donate $1 to the USO for every picture or story you post of a service member in your life. With Father’s Day fast approaching, help us recognize all the military dads out there who sacrifice so much. Go to Gillette’s Facebook Wall and post a story or photo today!

Announcing Operation Front Lines

Today we’re launching the USO’s Operation Front Lines; an all-out effort this summer to bring a touch of home to front lines around the world – by building a new USO center in Afghanistan; connecting more troops than ever to loved ones back home; sending thousands of care packages, providing USO2GO shipments to troops serving in remote locations, and more.

We need your help to make all that possible. That’s why we’re also launching a summer contest in support of this bold initiative, with the goal of raising $600,000 in six weeks. It’s a win-win situation. You get the chance to win a spectacular prize and the also the opportunity to give back to those brave men and women who defend our freedom.

We’ve got a lot to accomplish in a short period of time. Fortunately, Coca-Cola and NASCAR, two of the USO’s strongest partners, are stepping forward to launch our incredible contest and get this effort off to a roaring start.

By making your Operation Front Lines donation today, you’ll be supporting our troops on the front lines and you’ll also be entered for the chance to win the first in a series of great prizes we’ll be announcing this summer: a VIP all-access NASCAR experience at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Labor Day Weekend Race! Enter before midnight on June 30th (EST) for a chance to win a 5 day/4 night trip for you and a guest, including airfare and hotel accommodations to Atlanta, Ga., where you will:
• Ride along with a NASCAR driver
• Attend both the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series
• Go to an exclusive dinner with Team Coca-Cola drivers
• Air transport provided by American Airlines, Official Airline of the USO
• And much more

All of us here at the USO are excited about Operation Front Lines. We’ve set some ambitious goals for delivering support to our troops serving so far away from home, including the 100,000 troops expected to visit USO centers in Afghanistan this summer.

That’s why we’ve lined up three grand prizes to build excitement and energy — starting with the NASCAR package announced today and announcing the others over the next few weeks. With partners like Coca-Cola and NASCAR and friends like you, we’re confident we can make Operation Front Lines a dramatic success.

I hope you won’t miss this opportunity to be part of a truly incredible summer effort!