Story Courtesy of Information Warfare Training Command Corry Station
The United Service Organization’s (USO) location onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida, provides a welcomed “home away from home” for the nearly 21,000 service members attending courses at Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Corry Station each year.
“This location is an invaluable resource for our students, and we’ve received so much great feedback from them over the two years we have had it here,” said IWTC Corry Station Command Master Chief Joanne Gibson.
“Students absolutely love the all-volunteer staff that work there, and the services provided such as the free Wi-Fi, food, and special events. The USO’s mission is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country, throughout their service to the nation, and they are doing that flawlessly here at Corry.”
Founded in 1941 by Mary Ingraham in response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the USO provides morale and recreation services to U.S. uniformed military personnel. It serves the educational, religious, social, spiritual welfare and entertainment needs of the armed forces. Although it receives no direct government funding, it is endorsed by the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. Since the organization’s inception, each president has been the honorary chairman of the USO.
Since August of 2017, Corry Station’s USO has ensured morale and recreation services are available to roughly 2,000 service members on a daily basis. The USO hosts roughly 20 events each month, and is known as the go-to place for meals and entertainment.
“The USO has been serving as a home away from for our service members for nearly 80 years,” said Dana Cervantes, senior director for USO Northwest Florida. “Since the center opened just over two years ago onboard Corry Station, we have welcomed thousands of active duty students through our doors.”
Cervantes explained the importance of the USO in boosting the military community’s morale, and the scope of the organization’s work in northwest Florida alone.
“Our mission at the USO is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country throughout their service to our nation,” he said. “USO Northwest Florida has four centers and serves twelve bases through outreach programs and is operated by six staff members and over 300 dedicated volunteers.”
Every Wednesday night, the USO hosts home-cooked meals for all active duty students onboard Corry Station. On any given Wednesday, around 100 students from all shifts partake in the wonderful dinners.
“The USO is a great place, especially when you want a snack that doesn’t come from the vending machine or cost you an arm and a leg,” said Cryptologic Technicians (Collection) Seaman Apprentice Grant Groves, a student at IWTC Corry Station. “Even when you walk into the USO, you are greeted with friendly volunteers and they make you feel as comfortable as being home.”
Having the USO located directly onboard Corry Station has been the key to the success and attendance at this facility.
“I enjoy going to the USO to get some real food and meet new people,” said Cryptologic Technicians (Collection) 3rd Class Christopher Boykin, another student at IWTC Corry Station. “The volunteers are awesome, and the events they have are pretty entertaining. My friends and I enjoy going to play mini shuffleboard and watching TV. It’s definitely like a home away from home.”
This story originally appeared on DVIDS.net in December 2019. It has been edited for USO.org.
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