Get Down and Dirty with the USO of Missouri Mud Run!

Want a twist on the usual charity athletic fundraiser?  Then look no further than USO of Missouri’s 5K Cross Country Mud Run.  Part obstacle course, part road race, this unique event can be run by individuals or teams of 5, with the goal of raising money for the organization.

USO of Missouri runs two facilities at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.  The James S. McDonnell USO, located on the lower level of Terminal 1 across from baggage carousel M6, never closes. The doors are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The  Terminal 2 Satellite facility, located on the lower level of Terminal 2 across from entrance ET11, is open 7 AM – 6 PM, Monday – Friday.  There is also a mobile unit and a center at Ft. Leonard Wood.

Two recent stories by Teri Maddox for help explain just how much these centers mean to the military community.  A group of families found themselves waiting in the dining hall at Scott Air Force Base for 31 members of an Illinois Air National Guard 126th Air Refueling Wing Security Forces squadron to return from Iraq.  USO volunteers showed up to help pass the time.  “I love the USO,” said [one serviceman’s sister] Jennifer Stroup, 27, of Scott Air Force Base. “They were here for the (squadron’s) deployment, and they gave all the kids teddy bears. It was really nice.”  Click here to read the full story

The Mud Run helps support events like that homecoming and so many more.  Still not convinced?  Check out the quick video below for inspiration!  See you in the mud…

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Block Leave Keeps the St. Louis USO…Busy!

A volunteer at the James S. McDonnell USO took these photos, showing just a few of the thousands of Troops traveling through Lambert Airport on their way home for Block Leave.  Arriving via bus, Troops made their way to the Center as early as 2:00AM.  By the end of the season, over 8,000 Troops will fly out of St. Louis!

Thanks to all of the USO staff, volunteers, and everyone who comes out to greet the Troops!

Block Leaves – It Continues to be a Good Thing!

Fort Gordon Soldiers leave for Christmas Break and will travel through USO Georgia on their way home!
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Video courtesy WJBF News.

Today it’s also St. Louis’s turn to manage the thousands of troops traveling for Block Leave.  And it’s going great!

Pvt. Joseph Hancock, Company F, 795th Military Police Battalion, loads his duffel bag into the van of his friend, Desiree Hendley, left. Hancock is returning home to Indianapolis, Ind., for Holiday Block Leave. The Holiday Block Leave gives Soldiers an opportunity to spend the holidays at home. (Photo courtesy

Todd Nelson, Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization operations specialist at Fort Leonard Wood explained, “Once we get to the St. Louis airport, there will be drill sergeants from the 1st Engineer Brigade to offload the Soldiers and get them checked into the correct airlines. The St. Louis USO, in conjunction with many other agencies, will be on hand to offer the Soldiers free entertainment and things to do while they wait for their flights.  Then, in January, we get to do the whole process in reverse, but this time, everyone already has their return ticket.”  Read the full story here from

Indeed, for the St. Louis USO this is the busiest day of the year.  As is reporting, “Buses from Fort Leonard Wood began pulling up at Lambert about 3 a.m. today. That’s when the disc jockey inside the USO started playing songs, taking requests for everything from rap to country music.  Some of the soldiers won’t catch flights home until 6 or 7 p.m., so they’re in for a long wait at the airport. Kathy O’Connor, executive director of the USO of Missouri Inc. said the USO tries to make it a party atmosphere. Local businesses have donated food. The troops can have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  ‘Everything we have for them is free,’ O’Connor said as she stood at the James S. McDonnell USO Reception Desk. ‘We try and give them a holiday sendoff.'”