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