New Honor Guard Lounge Opens at the Fort Myer Community Center

President of USO of Metropolitan D.C., Elaine Rogers (center), stands with the president and CEO of Harkins Builders, Richard M. Lombardo (left) and Army Major General Karl Horst, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters—National Capitol Region and The U.S Military District of Washington to cut the ribbon in front of the lounge, September 8, 2010. (USO photo by Joe Lee)

By Joe Lee, ON★PATROL Staff Writer

USO Metropolitan Washington celebrated the opening of the new Honor Guard Lounge inside the Fort Myer Community Center yesterday with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony.

Event speakers included Army Major General Karl Horst, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters—National Capitol Region and The U.S Military District of Washington; Army Colonel Carl Coffman, joint base commander; and Elaine Rogers, president of USO of Metropolitan D.C..

The lounge is specifically dedicated to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who serve on the honor guard—charged with burying our fallen warriors at Arlington National Cemetary.

There isn’t a more deserving unit, Coffman said,  as he recalled waking up every morning to a caisson rolling past his home during his first few days as base commander.

“It was a sobering reminder for me,” said Coffman. “Burying our heroes is the most important thing the honor guard does, and they truly are the standard to which we are all held.”

A group of Air Force and Army honor guard members relax in the movie lounge. (USO photo by Joe Lee)

The state-of-the-art lounge boasts a gaming center, a 52-inch plasma TV, five computer workstations, a movie theatre and even a real theatre-style popcorn popper.

“The honor guard delivers first class service to our fallen heroes, and they deserve a first class facility to serve them—I hope this lounge meets and exceeds those expectations,” said Rogers.

Special thanks were given to major contributors Harkins Builders and Quest Software who helped make this $250,000 lounge a reality.

“It’s no surprise that the lounge far exceeds our expectations,” said Coffman. “We never had any doubt.”

Airman First Class Dane Daproza plays Wii in the new honor guard lounge. (USO photo by Joe Lee)

President and CEO of Harkins Builders, Richard M. Lombardo (right) receives the commander’s coin from Army Major General Karl Horst, commanding general of Joint Force Headquarters—National Capitol Region and The U.S Military District of Washington. Miss Virginia, Caitlin Uze, stands between them for the photograph. (USO photo by Joe Lee)

Catch Ace of Cakes and the USO on Food Network this Thursday!

In the episode “A Four Letter Word for Pastry,” Duff and his intrepid team at Charm City Cakes travel down to DC for a patriotic pastry party – namely, the USO Gala.  As usual, the team works their magic on an amazing cake that dazzled celebrity attendees and kids at Fort Myer – the cake’s final destination – with equal aplomb.

We’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to Duff and his team for their cake and for taking the time to meet so many military families who turned out for a slice.

See the USO cake make its journey from start to finish – a delicious finish at that! – on “Ace of Cakes,” airing at 10pm EST on the Food Network.  Please check local listings for the time in your area.  And check out our exclusive preview pics below!

Lined up for the cake

Troops and their families lined up for hours before the cake arrived at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall! (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Bringing the Cake in

Duff and his crew carefully walk the cake in...but what does it look like? Tune in to see... (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Crowd Shot

And the crowd goes wild! Excited kids - and parents - rush to see the amazing cake. (USO Photo by Em Hall)

Ace of Cakes crew and USO

Duff and his crew take a moment to post with staff and volunteers of USO of Metropolitan Washington. Great work everybody! (USO Photo by Em Hall)