Only Three Days Left to Have Your Voice Heard in 2013 TellUSO Sound Off Survey

Time is running out to share your opinions on USO services during the fifth-annual TellUSO Sound Off Survey.

The survey gives troops and their families a chance tell the USO their thoughts about the services it provides, where there’s room for improvement and where they feel there are new needs. The USO uses the data gathered to set priorities for 2014 that will bolster and improve its services.

The survey – which ends Oct. 1 – takes just 15 minutes to complete. It’s open to all troops and their family members. As a bonus, anyone 18 years of age or older can register to win a $500 Visa gift card after completing the survey. The drawing for that gift card will take place Oct. 15.

Among the findings of last year’s survey:

  • 89 percent of respondents totally agreed that they’d recommend the USO to friends and family
  • 87 percent of respondents were very satisfied with the USO
  • 83 percent of respondents valued their experience at USO centers

A Much-Needed Break: Mobile USO Stops by Navy Yard

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The USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s Mobile USO – an RV packed with treats and games dispatched around the region to lift spirits – visited the Navy Yard area of Washington on Wednesday, bringing a much-needed positive distraction to a military community shaken by the Sept. 16 shootings.

USO Metro’s Shalyn Bartelt and Jenn Hall served a steady stream of around 350 people over two hours, handing out snacks – including bags of fresh popcorn from their popcorn machine – and holding giant tricycle races in the parking lot, with the winners of each race taking home a DVD of their choice. The event also featured a contest where guests could guess how many Hershey Kisses were in a jar, with the winner receiving an iPod.

Finishing Touches: Donor Wall Goes Up at USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir

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The USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va., has served thousands of troops since it opened in February. However, every building must undergo its final touches.

This week, the temporary donor wall in the center’s Great Room is being replaced by the final version, seen above in its mid-construction phase.

From Enlisted to VIP: Trio of USO Events Turn Troops into Guests of Honor

This September, we’ve helped treat recovering troops to an exclusive meet-and-greet, distributed tickets for an exclusive basketball game and brought some accomplished cartoonists downrange to create some exclusive drawings.

Here’s a look at a few USO news items – from New York to Ohio and all the way to Afghanistan – that have happened the last few weeks:

Jon Stewart Hosts Recovering Troops During USO Visit

A group of wounded, ill and injured troops and their guests meet with "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, center, in New York City on Thursday. Stewart hosted the USO outing. USO photo

A group of wounded, ill and injured troops and their guests meet with “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, center, in New York City on Thursday. Stewart hosted the USO outing. USO photo

Jon Stewart, the popular anchor of Comedy Central’s long-running “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” hosted a USO contingent of wounded, ill and injured troops at the show’s New York City studio on Thursday. Comedians from “The Daily Show” – including summer interim host John Oliver – recently visited troops downrange, too.

Cleveland Cavaliers Turn Annual Exhibition into Military-Only Event

The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers’ annual Wine and Gold game – the intra-squad scrimmage that traditionally kicks off their preseason – will be a private event this year for troops and their families. Tickets for the game, which will be played at Baldwin Wallace University, will be distributed through the USO of Northern Ohio.

Toons for the Troops in Afghanistan

Army Spc. Jovi Prevot of the Mississippi Army National Guard has his caricature made by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez on Sept. 6 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Tynes

Army Spc. Jovi Prevot of the Mississippi Army National Guard has his caricature made by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez on Sept. 6 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Tynes

A group of eight National Cartoonist Society artists visited troops in Afghanistan on a USO tour earlier this month. See this DVIDS story for more details.

We Want Your Feedback: TellUSO Survey Online Now

There’s still time to have your voice heard.

The fifth-annual TellUSO Sound Off Survey is live, giving troops and their families a chance tell the USO their thoughts about the services it provides and where there’s room for improvement. The USO uses the survey results to set priorities that will bolster and improve its services.

The survey – which ends Oct. 1 – takes just 15 minutes to complete. It’s open to all troops and their family members. As a bonus, anyone 18 years of age or older can register to win a $500 Visa gift card after completing the survey. The drawing for that gift card will take place Oct. 15.

Among the highlights of last year’s survey:

  • 93 percent of respondents believe the USO helps to ease separation from family and friends
  • 98 percent of respondents believe the USO boosts the morale of troops
  • 95 percent of respondents believe the USO lets them know their country supports them
  • 94 percent of respondents believe the USO provides them with the things that help them feel normal in a less-than-normal environment
  • 90 percent of respondents believe USO personnel have had a positive impact on them personally