Mobile USO Helps Troops Through Long Summer Training Days

Images from the Mobile USO's stop in Oklahoma. Courtesy of Spc. Tyler Davis

Images from the Mobile USO’s stop in Oklahoma. Courtesy of Spc. Tyler Davis

Spending three weeks in the field on a military exercise can make you feel like you’re in another country – even if you never leave your home state.

Ask Army National Guard Spc. Tyler Davis, a 21-year-old from Lawton, Oklahoma, who took to Instagram last week to show his appreciation when his unit, the 160th Field Artillery Brigade, received a surprise visit from a Mobile USO while conducting annual training.

“It was a huge relief to get a break from the heat and to get away from all the brass,” Davis said. “We just got to lay back and chill. It felt incredible.”

Davis, who’s been in the Guard for more than four years, was pulling 48-hour shifts in the blazing sun wearing bulky laser simulation gear when the Mobile USO arrived.

“When we’re out here in the field we’re adapting to the military lifestyle and you get completely engulfed in it,” Davis said. “You better believe when we first caught wind of the [Mobile USO] coming I made sure to get everyone in my squad signed up.”

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A USO center on wheels, Mobile USO units offer troops the same kind of support provided at stationary centers, including a canteen, video games, movies, Wi-Fi and the most important amenity of all when training in the Oklahoma desert: air conditioning.

The fleet of USO vehicles is on the road throughout the continental U.S., serving troops and raising awareness about the USO.

“God bless you guys at the USO,” Davis said. “Without you, a lot of us would probably go insane.”

A Much-Needed Break: Mobile USO Stops by Navy Yard

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The USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s Mobile USO – an RV packed with treats and games dispatched around the region to lift spirits – visited the Navy Yard area of Washington on Wednesday, bringing a much-needed positive distraction to a military community shaken by the Sept. 16 shootings.

USO Metro’s Shalyn Bartelt and Jenn Hall served a steady stream of around 350 people over two hours, handing out snacks – including bags of fresh popcorn from their popcorn machine – and holding giant tricycle races in the parking lot, with the winners of each race taking home a DVD of their choice. The event also featured a contest where guests could guess how many Hershey Kisses were in a jar, with the winner receiving an iPod.