Joan Rivers, the San Diego Padres and a Soaked 5K: A Look at USO Events Around The Globe

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As the summer draws to a close, USO centers around the world were busy hosting events to lift the spirits of troops and their families. Here’s a look at a few of the fantastic moments from USO centers around the world:

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Joan Rivers visits USO Denver. USO photo.

Joan Rivers Makes Surprise Visit to USO Denver
Long-time USO supporter Joan Rivers paid a surprise visit to USO Denver last Wednesday morning and made sure each guest, volunteer and staff member knew how much she appreciated them. Rivers was the 2001 USO of Metropolitan New York’s Woman of the Year.

“Thank you for your service,” Rivers told the group.

Military Kids Hit the Field at the Be a San Diego Padre for a Day Event
The USO partnered with Petco Park and the Padres to give military kids a Major League experience. Several local kids from military families spent the day practicing baseball fundamentals, talking with former Padre Damian Jackson and learning all about what it would be like to be a Major League Baseball player. Check out the video from the event here.

Sixth Annual Clark After Dark in Chicago
The USO of Illinois took to the streets Thursday night for its sixth annual Clark After Dark block party. Thanks to the support of Alderman Brendan Reilly of the 42nd Ward, Boss Bar and other USO partners, partygoers enjoyed live music, military vehicle displays and plenty of food. Despite the rainy weather, Chicagoans came out in full force to support their troops and show appreciation.

Heidi Murkoff smiles with an expectant military mother. USO photo.

Heidi Murkoff smiles with an expectant military mother. USO photo.

USO/What to Expect Special Delivery Baby Shower in Fort Drum, New York
On Friday, the USO and the What to Expect Foundation, founded by best-selling author Heidi Murkoff, delivered a special baby shower to expecting military spouses and service women stationed in Fort Drum, New York. The moms-to-be enjoyed an afternoon filled with shower games, food, a raffle and a question-and-answer session with Murkoff, who wrote the best-selling book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Second Annual H2GO in Okinawa, Japan
There aren’t many stickier places on the planet than the South Pacific in the summer, where near-100-degree temperatures are coupled with crippling humidity. To help troops and their families stationed in Okinawa beat the heat and stay in shape, volunteers at USO Kadena created H2GO, a 5K foot race with water-themed obstacles along the route.

The H2GO race let participants enjoy slip-n-slides, water cannons and the soaking power of over 20,000 water balloons.

Girls show off their nails and face paintings at Sun and Fun day with Kaiserslautern USO. USO photo.

Girls show off their nails and face paintings at Sun and Fun day with USO Kaiserslautern. USO photo.

Sixth Annual Sun and Fun Day in Kaiserslautern, Germany
As the dog days of summer come to an end, Kaiserslautern USO and TKS hosted the sixth annual Sun and Fun Day for troops and their families to help them enjoy the last of the warm weather. Despite some rain, over 2,300 visitors came out to enjoy the five-hour event that included food, raffles, live music and search-and-rescue dog demos.

Troops Get Their Game on at Camp Buehring Volleyball Tournament
Service members rallied their way to victory at a volleyball tournament Saturday night in Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Troops were able to form teams of six and compete for prizes — all while jamming out to the beats of DJ Break One. The winning teams were even awarded victory T-shirts!

USO Pacific VP Harris Marks 25 Years of Serving Troops

USO Senior Vice President of Operations Alan Reyes presents USO Pacific Regional Vice President Carly Harris a 25-year service coin Friday at USO Arlington in Virginia. Photo by Samantha Quigley

USO Senior Vice President of Operations Alan Reyes presents USO Pacific Regional Vice President Carly Harris a 25-year service coin Friday at USO Arlington in Virginia. Photo by Samantha Quigley

Carly Harris is an ever-present supporter of America’s troops. On Friday, she got a little recognition of her own.

Harris, USO Pacific regional vice president, was honored for her 25 years of service to the organization during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the USO offices in Arlington, Va.

Harris’ USO career includes stints as director of operations for USO Europe, a leading role in the development of the USO’s presence in Southwest Asia, and the director’s post at USO Wiesbaden/Mainz.

Congratulations Carly!

The Sesame Street/USO Experience Visits Osan!

"...and, in conclusion, THAT is how you get to Sesame Street!" Maj Matthew McAlister reads a Sesame Street book with his daugher Chloe, 5, before the start of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at USAG Yongsan in South Korea, February 10, 2010.(USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

The USO and Sesame Workshop have partnered again for phase III of “The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families” – a free traveling USO tour featuring five of America’s favorite Muppets. The tour has traveled to 13 military installations in Japan, Korea and Guam over the course of two months, delivering family friendly shows tailored specifically for military families.  To date, the tour has performed a whopping 154 shows and entertained more than 105,700 military families!!!

This program is an extension of Sesame Workshop’s Talk, Listen, Connect program, a military outreach initiative launched in 2006, providing support and resources for military families with young children experiencing the effects of deployment, multiple deployments, and/or a parent’s return home changed due to a combat-related injury.

We hope you’ll enjoy this video from their latest visit – to Osan, Japan – and look for an exclusive photo essay on the blog this weekend!

Donut Donation Makes a Big Difference

One person really can make a difference as the sailors at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan found out on Friday, January 15, 2010.  Brooklynite Carmen Colon wanted to do something for the troops, so she purchased $240 worth of donuts to donate.  But how to get them there?  The USO, of course!

“USO Operation Doughnut Drop” with the USS Shiloh was a huge success.  “It really was a terrific morale-booster,” said Vernichel Tharps, the Director of Programs and Marketing for USO Japan.  Below are some exclusive pictures from this fun, sugar-filled day.  In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”

Kon’nichiwa, Minasan! The Sesame Street/USO Experience Continues in Japan!

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families – Phase III – continues to tour the Pacific region.  Click here to see the complete schedule and click here to read about their visit to Yokosuka!

Elmo greets fans during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, January 21, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

(l-r) Jayvion King, 1, his mom Natalie King, Aubriana King, 4, and Madison Rickard, 3, react to various degrees as Elmo took the stage during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, January 21, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Elmo (r), Rosita (c) and Cookie Monster (l) greet fans from the stage during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, January 21, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Cooke Monster greets his fans during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, January 21, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Elmo greets fans during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, January 21, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Cookie Monster (c) leaps in the air while dancing with Rosita (l) and Elmo (r) during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, January 21, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Excited children wave to the Sesame Street characters onstage during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Atsugi Naval Air Field in Japan, January 19, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Rosita hugs audience members during a performance of the USO/Sesame Street Experience for Military Families at Atsugi Naval Air Field in Japan, January 19, 2010. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Image of the Day

Santa Claus makes a surprise appearance and hands out candy to audience members during a holiday concert featuring the U.S. 7th Fleet Band and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Band Dec. 11, 2009, in Yokosuka, Japan. The concert is celebrating the holiday season and showcasing the alliance between both the countries' navies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Charles Oki/Released)