A USO Moment: 13 Marines Get Impromptu Welcome in Chicago, First Class Seats for Final Leg of Journey

Lindsy Wadas, director of the USO of Illinois' center at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, poses with Marine Maj. Matthew Winkelbauer after he and 12 fellow Marines arrived in Chicago on Monday. The 13 Marines were treated to an inpromptu water-canon salute and gate greeting and all ended up with first class seats on their American Airlines flight to San Diego. Courtesy of USO of Illinois

Lindsy Wadas, director of the USO of Illinois’ center at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, poses with Marine Maj. Matthew Winkelbauer after he and 12 fellow Marines arrived in Chicago on Monday. Courtesy of USO of Illinois

Here at the USO, we’re lucky to get to do things on a large scale for America’s troops and their families. But it’s the little, serendipitous events that come together each day at USO centers around the world that keep us going.

On Monday, 13 Marines on the tail end of a five-day trip home from Afghanistan got a surprise they’ll never forget, courtesy of a web of people who’d likely never met and an enterprising USO of Illinois volunteer. In the course of a few minutes, the Marines went from a routine approach for landing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport to getting a water-canon salute on the runway and an impromptu greeting at the gate by members of Chicago’s police and fire departments, USO of Illinois volunteers and airport personnel. Once they were in the terminal, American Airlines offered up six first class upgrades to the Marines for free for their flight to San Diego. And when the Marine contingent boarded the plane, seven other first-class passengers gave up their seats so the Marines could sit together.

Read how one Marine’s fiancee, roughly 30 of Chicago’s finest, one USO partner, seven strangers on an airplane and a host of airport workers and USO volunteers – including 74-year-old former Marine John Colas, who coordinated it all – made this moment happen.

Miles In Support of All Who Serve

In honor of all those who serve, from now until Veterans Day, 11/11/11, American Airlines’ AAdvantage members will be rewarded 15 miles instead of 10 for each dollar donated through American’s Miles In Support of All Who Serve campaign! The minimum $25 donation supports USO programs and services to support the morale, welfare, social and entertainment needs of troops and their families, like free phone cards, care packages, and more!

American Airlines Launches New Military Commercials

Last week, we were proud to announce that American Airlines is now the official airline of the USO.  And their new Join Us website has a section devoted entire to the Military.  Now they’ve launched two new commercials!  From the website: “As a public gesture of gratitude and a tribute to those in uniform, veterans and their families, American Airlines is introducing two new television commercials. Entitled, “Thank You,” and “Putting Them First,” the new TV spots aim to emotionally connect viewers with active military service members as they travel.”

We think these are just terrific and invite you to learn more about the AA/USO Gift Card and other ways that you can support the Troops through American Airlines.   These commercials won’t air on television until tomorrow, but in the meantime we hope you take the time to watch and share them this holiday weekend.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “military-commercials :: American Airl…“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “military-commercials :: American Airl…“, posted with vodpod

American is the USO’s Official Airline

American Airlines has just announced they’re expanded their relationship with the USO, becoming the first official airline partner in our 69-year history of supporting U.S. military service members.

“At American Airlines, supporting our troops, veterans and their families is a cornerstone commitment we have made to honor those who protect the freedoms we hold so dear,” said Roger Frizzell, American’s Vice President – Corporate Communications and Advertising. “We are extremely proud to be the official airline of the USO, an organization whose sole mission is to serve those who serve this great nation.”

As the USO’s official airline, American will provide in-kind support, as well as fundraising assistance, including a new American Airlines Gift Card that launches today.  When purchasers select the USO gift card option, American will donate $5 to the USO for every $50 of travel purchased.

“American’s extensive network and long history of supporting members of the armed forces make them an ideal partner for us,” said Kelli Seely, USO’s Senior Vice President, Development & Chief Development Officer. “It is an honor to welcome American Airlines as the official airline of the USO.”

The new Join Us website, http://www.AA.com/joinus, invites the public to learn more about the not-for-profit organizations American supports, including military/veterans programs, Susan G. Komen for the Cure(r), Kids In Need(r) and disaster relief efforts. Customers may contribute to these causes by making cash donations to earn AAdvantage miles, and pre-purchasing travel, wherein American will donate 10 percent of travel purchased to the USO, if designated. The website provides a one-stop opportunity to learn about American’s community programs and the ways customers can get involved.

The American Airlines Gift Card is available in denominations from $50 to $1,500 and can be applied toward the purchase of travel on any American Airlines, American Eagle or AmericanConnection carrier, or any oneworld partner or codeshare flight published fare. Unlike many gift cards, there is no expiration date. When completing the payment information, enter “USO” in the tracking code box. The gift card can be delivered to the recipient via e-mail, with a personal message included, if desired.

We’re thrilled to announce this new partnership and hope you’ll enjoy flying American Airlines as much as we do.  Let us know when you use this program – we want to hear about your travel experiences!