USO2GO Shipments Help Troops Take a Load Off in the Middle East

Troops in Qatar pose with  some gear from their USO2GO shipment. Courtesy photo

Troops in Qatar pose with some gear from their USO2GO shipment. Courtesy photo

The master sergeant really wanted chairs.

The video games, TVs and snacks were great, too. Still, years of deployments, bad weather and overall wear and tear had left the furniture at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in bad shape.

New folding chairs were actually a pretty big deal.

“I use one of your chairs almost every day to relax outside and enjoy my cigar and destress from the daily workload,” Air Force Master Sgt. Richard Rude wrote in a May 2 email to the USO.

The folding chairs – along with bigger-ticket items like video game consoles and televisions – were part of a USO2GO shipment Rude requested earlier this year.

“When I got to my deployed location [in January], I wanted to see what I can to take care of my troops,” Rude wrote in a May 5 email. “I went to the USO website and started doing some research about what [the USO] had to offer [and] I stumbled upon the USO2GO program.”

Troops play video games - part of their USO2GO shipment - and use other USO2GO gear in Qatar. Courtesy photo

Troops play video games – part of their USO2GO shipment – and use other USO2GO gear in Qatar. Courtesy photo

USO2GO delivers some of the USO’s most popular services to troops in remote and restricted areas around the globe. Service members in remote areas can go to the USO’s website to see their options: anything from snacks, coffee and toiletries to board games, video game consoles and sporting goods.

Rude was immediately drawn to the electronics and furniture offerings. He said the younger airmen in Qatar have personal electronics with them at all times, even though they don’t always have reliable Internet. However, many of the base’s communal video game consoles had been damaged by ubiquitous sand, intense heat and constant use.

“The main attraction to deployers is electronics,” Rude wrote. “I knew that my squadron could use consoles, especially since they double as [DVD players].”

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Once he’d narrowed down his wish list using the USO2GO online menu, Rude emailed USO2GO program manager Cristin Perry to coordinate the shipment. Rude submitted the final paperwork in mid-March. Two weeks later, the shipment was filled and on April 22, Rude’s unit started receiving packages.

“It is definitely difficult to explain how amazing it feels when several boxes of equipment come in from the USO,” Rude wrote. “I guess I can explain it best to ask someone ‘How did you feel when you seen all the presents under the Christmas tree as a child?’

“I thought the packages [the USO] had setup were perfect in efforts to help bring my guys together and get to know one another. It is also a positive distractor, especially being away from loved ones.”

Saving Abel Raises Cain on Tour with the USO!

Saving Abel rocks out with troops stationed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Feb 22, 2010. Known for their radio-ready sound, memorable melodies and hard hitting tracks, the band will release their highly anticipated sophomore album in Summer of 2010. (USO photo by Mike Clifton)

Senior Airman Ashley Zamora (Left) of Hurlburt Field, FL and Tech Sergeant Dee Ordinario (Right) of Maxwell Air Force Base, AL share a light moment with Saving Abel front-man Jared Weeks at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar Feb. 22, 2010. Participating in their first USO tour, Saving Abel are strong supporters of those in uniform and, in 2008, the band paid homage to military families stationed abroad by filming their hit song “18 Days” on the USS Hornet. (USO Photo by Mike Clifton)

Rock band Saving Abel clowns around with troops stationed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Feb. 22, 2010. (USO Photo by Mike Clifton)

Rock band Saving Abel listens carefully as they are given a tour of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Feb. 22, 2010. (USO photo by Mike Clifton)

Rock band Saving Abel poses for a group photo alongside the 1-43/3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion stationed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Feb. 22, 2010. Participating in their first USO tour, Saving Abel are strong supporters of those in uniform and, in 2008, the band paid homage to military families stationed abroad by filming their hit song “18 Days” on the USS Hornet. (USO photo by Mike Clifton)

Saving Abel front-man Jared Weeks rocks out with troops and performs on of many hits for troops stationed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Feb. 22, 2010. (USO photo by Mike Clifton)