BATTLESHIP and the USO Onboard to Support the Real Heroes

“I love telling big stories about big heroes; people we admire and look up to. But, at the end of the day, real life is better than any story. Our service men and women are the real heroes.”

                  — BATTLESHIP Director/Producer, Peter Berg, as stated in the USO’s “Real Heroes” PSA

In honor of the real heroes of the United States military, the USO is partnering with Universal Pictures on the upcoming motion picture BATTLESHIP. Through this partnership, Universal Pictures, Director/Producer Peter Berg (Hancock) and film partners, such as Coke Zero and Activision Publishing, Inc. are raising awareness of the needs of troops and their families – our real heroes. As part of their commitment to supporting our troops – and Peter Berg’s personal commitment and passion – Universal produced a public service announcement for the USO to help all Americans salute our heroes.

This month we launched our latest Public Service Announcement (PSA) called “Real Heroes” which features the acclaimed BATTLESHIP director. As narrator, Berg whose father served as a Marine and later worked as a Navel historian spotlights the current men and women who serve and pays homage to the USO and our mission.

Inspired by Hasbro’s classic naval combat game, BATTLESHIP stars Taylor Kitsch as Lt. Alex Hopper, a Naval officer assigned to the USS John Paul Jones; Brooklyn Decker as Sam Shane, a physical therapist and Hopper’s fiancée; Alexander Skarsgård as Hopper’s older brother, Stone, Commanding Officer of the USS Sampson; Rihanna as Petty Officer Raikes, Hopper’s crewmate and a weapons specialist on the USS John Paul Jones; and international superstar Liam Neeson as Hopper and Stone’s superior (and Sam’s father), Admiral Shane.

Our founding partner Coca-Cola is inviting their Coke Zero consumers to support the USO and the real heroes through their MyCokeRewards program. For every point donated, Coke Zero will make a donation to the USO and match it up to $50,000. In addition to the points option, for every case of a 20/24 pack can of Coke Zero purchased at participating retail stores, Coke Zero will donate $0.50 (up to $300,000) to Operation Enduring Care (OEC) until June 3rd.

Another great USO partner and film partner, Activision Publishing, Inc. will donate copies of the new BATTLESHIP video game to fourteen USO Centers, USO2GOs and MEGS in Southwest Asia in the coming weeks. The video game, available on X360®, PS3™, Wii™, 3DS™ and DS™ will hits stores for gamers on May 15th.

Feel free to download the official poster provided by Universal Pictures.

See you at the movies on May 18th!! – Travis T. Burgin, USO Marketing Manager

Children Illustrate their Support for Troops

A young girl shows her winning artwork at Ft. Lee.

The patriotic pictures on the walls of Ft. Lee and the Richmond International Airport are no ordinary images. Drawn by children, the artwork illustrates their support and respect for the troops that keep them safe.

In honor of April’s ‘Month of the Military Child,’ the USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia (USO HRCV) has created a unique contest to engage local children and raise awareness of the USO’s mission.

For the second year, the USO HRCV called on all school-age children in the area to compete in an art contest that uses the winning artworks to decorate the walls of USO HRCV’s two local USO centers, Richmond International Airport and Ft. Lee.

The children, ages 5 to 18, were instructed to create a patriotic artwork that incorporated the USO HRCV logo and a branch of service or military families.

Once the winning artwork was selected, USO HRCV turned the patriotic images into wallpaper for their two locations.

USO HRCV and the winning artists gather for an unveiling at Richmond International Airport.

Last week USO HRCV held unveilings for the winners at their two locations, where their patriotic art work was on display.

Surrounded by support from proud family members and even art teachers, the winners enjoyed a light meal and cake to celebrate. USO HRCV also presented the children with certificates of appreciation.

USO Director of the Richmond International Airport Center, Tricia Riggs, said the children were very excited and appreciative of the opportunity to have their artwork on display.  Riggs also received numerous calls from parents telling her how meaningful this opportunity has been for both them and their child.

One girl’s grandfather, a Navy Vet, had recently passed away. Riggs said the girl and her family were very thankful and humbled to have her artwork on display and sending a lasting message of thanks to the troops who will visit the center.

Since children are our future military members and volunteers, Riggs stressed how important it is for USO HRCV to work them. Before this event, many of the children had not heard about USO HRCV.

Now, these children know how they can help our nation’s troops, and they have an exciting experience to share with their family and friends.

“Each child left not only with a better understanding of the USO, but a new sense of pride and patriotism for their country and those who serve,” said Riggs.

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Check out USO HRCV’s Snapfish album to see more pictures of the children’s winning artwork. – Sarah Camille Hipp, Communications Specialist