Burgers at Berth 9

On September 23, USO YokosukaHard Rock Cafe Japan joined together for tasty burgers, entertainment and door prizes in appreciation to the many troops that provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts after the devastating events of March 11, 2011.

Service members enjoy some tasty food

USO Japan hosted over 2,000 active duty service members at Berth #9 alongside the USS BludeRidge and handed out almost 4,000 freshly grilled, signature Hard Rock Cafe Burgers. Sounds like more than a few people went back for seconds and thirds!

Elvis has been spotted in Japan!

“Elvis” was there to rock out and provide the entertainment during the free lunch. Not only was the event a great success (as measured by smiles and full stomachs!), but Hard Rock Cafe donated everything, making the event the largest in-kind donation USO Japan has ever received! Check out more pictures at USO Japan on Facebook and be sure to become a fan while you’re there! - Vyque Elessar, USO Director of New Media

Montgomery Gentry 2011 USO Tour


Grammy nominated country music artists Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, who comprise Montgomery Gentry, have recently completed their third USO tour, bringing their own unique brand of beats and humor to the troops and their families based in Korea and Japan.

Service men and women at Camp Casey, Camp Humphreys, Camp Bonafis, Camp Mujuk, Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster enjoyed two acoustic performances and four full band shows while the duo got to extend their gratitude to the service men and women by posing for photos, signing autographs and offering up countless hugs of support.

Check out more of the photos at USO.org.

Marine Embodies Esprit de Corps

Sgt. Kevin A. Aguilar, dispatching and licensing noncommissioned officer in charge for Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, conducts Marine Corps Martial Arts Program training with his Marines on a regular basis. (Photo by Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso)

September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month and in recognition of this we’ll be honoring those who serve, along with highlighting many of our great celebrity entertainers.

Several branches are also celebrating: the Army has created the website Hispanic Americans in the U.S. Army;  the Navy’s supports Hispanic Officer candidates through the Association of Naval Services OfficersMilitary Times chose LCDR Richard A. Angelet as 2010 Coast Guardsmen of the Year in recognition of his work on behalf of Hispanics service members; and the Air Force recently selected two winners of the 2010 National LATINA Symposium Distinguished Service Award.

Today we bring you a story from the Marines, as first reported by On the Frontlines: Every year, certain periods of time are set aside for the each branch of the armed services to honor the rich blend of cultures serving among their ranks. Cultural observances highlight the accomplishments of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen—past and present—who make a difference in the lives of those around them.

At Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Marine Sergeant Kevin A. Aguilar – a Marine of Hispanic descent – is one of those service members currently making a difference in the lives of his troops. Read Aguilar’s story, “What a Sergeant of Marines Should Be,” on the official site of the U.S. Marines.

2010 Regional Volunteers of the Year

To recognize the outstanding contributions of our volunteers, USO centers from our four operating regions—Stateside, Europe, Southwest Asia, and the Pacific—nominate a volunteer for “Volunteer of the Quarter” four times a year. This individual has gone above and beyond in supporting our troops and demonstrating their commitment to the USO mission.  From this group of outstanding volunteers a “Volunteer of the Year” is then selected for each region..and here they are!

One of these amazing four finalists will be selected as the USO Volunteer of the Year, and they’ll be honored at our annual USO Gala in October.  Congratulations finalists – we’re so proud of you!

Herb Schmeling – United States USO Volunteer of the Quarter

USO Puget Sound Area (USO PSA) volunteer, Herb Schmeling continuously gives his all to the USO, putting our nation’s service members first. As one of the center’s most committed volunteers, he regularly gives 60-80 hours a month, and is always available at a moments notice. He represents USO PSA at Combined Federal Campaign events and Family Deployment Fairs, making sure the Fort McChord military community is aware of USO PSA’s programs and services. He was also instrumental in successful Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, helping serve holiday meals to more than 400 military families.

Affectionately called the “Godfather of Fort Lewis,” Herb was honored for his exceptional efforts, being selected as Fort Lewis’ Volunteer of the Year for 2008.  USO PSA is extremely thankful for the commitment and enthusiasm that Herb displays on an ongoing basis. He inspires everyone around him and is an excellent pick for the Stateside Volunteer of the Quarter!

May Grace Enjambre – Europe USO Volunteer of the Quarter

As a single service member living far from her family in the Philippines, May Grace Enjambre knows first hand how difficult it is to be in a new place, separated from loved ones. When she first arrived at her duty station in Naples, it was a bit tough. But like so many of the remarkable men and women serving our country, May decided to use her time to help other troops and their families by volunteering with USO Naples.

May is the center’s Publicity Coordinator, working with the Armed Forces Network and the local public affairs office to inform the local Naval Support Activities center about the USO and its programs.  Despite working two jobs, May gives up her weekends to volunteer with the USO. She’s volunteered more than 600 hours assisting over 4,000 in-transit passengers and 1,000 families during USO events. With young people like May serving in our armed forces, we can rest easier knowing that we are in trusted hands.

SSgt. Shaina Newton – Southwest Asia USO Volunteer of the Quarter

Staff Sergeant Shaina Newton is a remarkable service member who truly enjoys supporting fellow troops. When she’s not working 12-hour shifts at her regular duty station, she’s at USO Baghdad, where she averages 64 hours per month, making sure the USO center feels like a “home away from home.”

Shaina is constantly coming up with new initiatives to help lift the spirits of her comrades.  She created a revised volunteer database that maps out daily volunteer and visitor trends. This system helps the center predict needs and determine volunteer recruitment goals.  Not only does she bring her wonderful creativity and good nature to our operations, but she has saved USO Baghdad countless hours in tracking and managing volunteers. Shaina Newton’s contributions to the USO are a testament to her exceptional character and we applaud her service to the center and to our nation.

Sanae Ogawa – Pacific USO Volunteer of the Quarter
Affectionately known as “Sunny” by her peers and center colleagues, Sanae Ogawa volunteers nearly 90 hours a month to the USO. Her local connections have proved vital persuading local businesses to financially support the USO.  During the Thanksgiving holiday celebration, she volunteered to help serve more than 250 single and unaccompanied sailors. During the annual Cookie Caravan event, she helped bake and distribute more than 4,000 bags of homemade cookies.

Sanae also was an integral part of USO Sasebo’s “Christmas Talk With Your Mouth Full” event, arriving at 5:30 a.m. to help set up and feed more than 300 sailors on Christmas morning. She continuously demonstrates her commitment to the USO and our men and woen in uniform.

Photos From the Field – August 2010

Periodically, we’re bringing you the best in USO photography from around the world.  Enjoy this second installment of our photo essays!

(P.S. – if you know any of the photographers of images that don’t credit one, please let us know!)

Earlier this summer, USO New England held a luncheon for Wounded Warrior and many others to commemorate the Battle of the Midway on the USS Constitution Underway. (Photo by Nicole Mantopoulos, all rights reserved)

Some wildlife from Westfield, MA, in its natural habitat... (Photo courtesy of Pioneer Valley USO Facebook page)

The Guam USO Center gives visitors a real island feel, complete with local flora! (Photo courtesy of USO Guam Facebook page)

Outside of the USO at Joint Base Balad at sunset. You can almost forget where you are. (USO photo by Erin Corcoran)

On August 6th, 2010 the USO Warrior Center hosted an event with Stuttgart BOSS. The group came down to cook up some brats, hot dogs, and hamburgers for the wounded warriors. It was a fun and relaxing afternoon! (Photo courtesy of USO Warrior Center Facebook page)

The 159th recovering Fort Campbell USO's helicopter from the range. The 159th is going to refurbish this piece and then it is going into the USO center. (Photo courtesy of Fort Campbell USO Facebook page)