Birthday Buddies: USO and Facebook Keep Troops Connected Downrange

Troops use Facebook at a USO center in 2012. USO photo

Troops use Facebook at a USO center in 2012. USO photo

Today is the USO’s 73rd birthday. As we passed the cake around at our centers, we realized there’s another birthday relevant to the military community taking place.

Facebook turns 10 years old today. And while you may not see the connection right away, our troops surely get it each time they walk into a center downrange.

Jose, a veteran from San Diego was quoted in a New York Times story today saying Facebook and the USO provided him a connection to his family he couldn’t have made any other way while stationed across the globe:

I have spent the last 13 years serving my country but the separation from family is an aspect that I have never mastered. Facebook allows me to see my children grow up even when I have to be away for my duties. It keeps me from being totally cut off from my family even if I am thousands of miles away with no cellular service. It is a crucial tool for military members and keeps us connected like no other service other than the USO [United Service Organizations] has. Walk into a USO overseas and Facebook dominates the screens. It’s for good reason.

It’s moments like these that count for troops and their families. Happy birthday, Facebook.

Proud to Support Our Troops Through the USO

The USO is lucky to have a supportive and giving Facebook community and we have an exclusive “thank you” to our fans!
In response to your many requests, we have created a limited edition, heather red “Proud Fan” t-shirt available exclusively to our Facebook fans!

With a generous donation of just $25, you’ll be supporting all of the wonderful USO programs and services that let our troops know we’re there for them — something that’s especially important this time of year. And as an added bonus, the USO will send you this free, limited-edition t-shirt to wear on Red Shirt Fridays – every Friday people throughout the nation wear red in support of our troops! That’s 52 times a year to show off your patriotic style!

With care packages full of the items they need the most, free phone calls to friends and family back home, programs and services committed to reintegrating our healing heroes and so much more, the USO is making sure our troops can always enjoy a touch of home.

Donate $25 for your free, limited edition “Proud Fan” t-shirt before the October 19 deadline!

Thank you for taking part in this campaign! – Vyque White, Director of New Media

It’s Time for the USO Gala!

USO President Sloan Gibson (center) poses with this year's Regional Honorees, including (l-r) Michael Lewis, Country Director, USO Germany; Robin Crouse, Center Director, USO Fort Hood; and Christine Gunderson, Duty Manager, USO Balad, who is accompanied by her mother, Colleen Curtis. (USO photo by Em Hall)

We’re so excited for our annual gala tonight!  Over 1,000 military leaders, celebrities and special guests will be in attendance as we honor our troops with the theme “A Salute to Military Families.”

We have a special treat for you, too, because for the first time ever we’re live streaming the USO Gala!  You can view the entire event on tonight beginning at 7pm.  We’ll also be live blogging the entire evening, as well as updating Facebook and Twitter.  If you’re also on Twitter, be sure to give us your feedback by using the hashtag #USOGala

We hope you’ll be a part of this amazing evening, as Master of Ceremonies Bill Engvall, musical guest Trisha Yearwood, and many more celebrities and special guests take the stage.  Admiral Thad Allen, Former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, will be recognized as the Spirit of the USO Honoree

Our 2010 honorees include Sergeant Zachary C. Dispennette, U.S. Army; Petty Officer Robert D. Emley, U.S. Coast Guard; Staff Sergeant Gino P. Kahaunaele, U.S. Air Force; Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, U.S. Navy; Sergeant Eric B. Walker, U.S. Marine Corps; and USO Volunteer of the Year Herbert Carl Schmeling Jr., USO of Puget Sound Area, WA.

We’ll “see” you online tonight as we celebrate our troops and their families together!

Only One Week Left to Support the Troops with Just a Click!

My, how time flies!  It seems like only yesterday that we were telling you about the “60 Second Cocktails” program, brought to you this summer by Bacardi USA to support the USO.  Well summer’s almost over, but it’s not too late to show your support!

Now through Labor Day, we encourage you to click away and help us reach our goal.  So far, we’ve only raised about 15% of our goal of an additional $25,000, and only YOU can help us reach the ultimate goal of $100,000 being donated from Bacardi to the USO.  You can click as often as you like, share it on your own Facebook profile, and tell your friends by posting on their profiles, too!

We want to thank everyone who has shown their support with just a click this summer.  As a special treat, we wanted to bring you this video clip from 60 Second Cocktails!

Former US Marine and top mixologist, Bryan Stowe, demonstrates how to mix a BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Collins Cocktail made with BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin. Delicious but perfectly simple, each of the 60 Second Cocktails can be crafted in 60 seconds or less. Prep your mixers and garnishes in advance, and be ready to impress your guests.

Don’t forget to “Like” 60 Second Cocktails on Facebook to download the recipe book and to help support the troops!

Breaking the Roles: Jeffrey Ross

Jeffrey Ross entertains the troops at an USO show on Bagram Air Field, August 19, 2005. (U.S. Army photo by SPC Joshua Balog)

“Through Independence Day, HuffPost Impact is running a series of stories called “Breaking the Roles,” highlighting the servicemen and women of our armed forces who don’t typically see the media spotlight, and the remarkable work of the USO, who are tireless in their efforts to support all who defend our country.”

We’re thrilled to announce this six-part series,  running online at the Huffington Post‘s in partnership with Causecast, that tells untold stories of those who support our men and women in uniform!  Check back each day to see the latest interview.

Today kicks off with a hilarious interview of Jeffrey Ross, by Jonathan Daniel Harris.  Ross is a longtime supporter of the USO and the military.  His directorial debut, “Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie” captured his own life changing experience traveling on a USO tour and entertaining American soldiers stationed around Iraq during the early days of the war.  It screened at many top festivals and even won Best Picture at the Montreal Comedy Festival.  Click here to read our latest blog post on Jeffrey Ross and be sure to follow him on Twitter.

You can also follow HuffPoImpact on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  And let us know what you think of the series!

USO’s Around the World are on Facebook!

Regular readers of the blog are no doubt familiar with the USO’s official Facebook fan page, but did you know that USO’s around the globe are now joining in on the fun?

Below is a list of every USO Center that’s currently on Facebook.  We encourage you to “Like” any and all of them, especially if you want to keep tabs on what’s happening to loved ones deployed overseas!  And if we missed one, let us know (and include the link)!  We’ll keep adding to the list as more come on board.

We “Like” it already!