Catch this Sunday’s “Army Wives” Episodes Featuring a USO Concert!

Country music superstar Wynonna Judd has supported the USO for years, including this concert for Troops and their families in 2004. (Photo property of USO Archives)

Happy Armed Forces Day!

It’s a great weekend to celebrate the military and do we have a special treat for you.  Tomorrow night the series “Army Wives” features… a USO concert! From the Army Wives Episode Guide: “Ft. Marshall is buzzing with anticipation of the upcoming USO concert featuring Wynona Judd and Five for Fighting. Pamela throws herself into helping Claudia Joy organize the concert in order to avoid thinking about Chase’s upcoming return. Meanwhile, in Iraq, Joan struggles to keep morale up amongst her troops. The tribe comes together to support and encourage fellow Army Wife Marisol (guest-star Gina Rodriquez) to be honest about her husband’s abusive actions.”

Awesome!  We can’t wait for tomorrow night.  Be sure to tune in on Lifetime at 10 pm et/pt.  Check out a sneak preview below…

Warrior Games Kick-off on Today Show!

Army Spc. Craig C. Smith, a below-the-right-knee amputee and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran recovering at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C., gets ready to throw an outlet pass down court during a wheelchair basketball practice April 13, 2010, at Walter Reed. Smith and others recovering at Walter Reed are training for the inaugural Warrior Games May 10-14 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The games will feature Paralympic-style competitions to challenge disabled veterans and wounded active duty servicemembers. (DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden)

The Warrior Games are just days away!  These games will bring 200 wounded Troops and veterans together for Olympic-style feats of athleticism in Colorado Springs, beginning May 10 and running through May 14.

Before the games get started, though, members of Rolling Thunder are taking a cross-country tour, raising flags over Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., and bringing those flags to the games as a way to honor all 9/11 victims.  Several athletes and a member of Rolling Thunder were featured on the Today Show this morning!

more about “ase“, posted with vodpod

Talk, Listen, Connect III: When Families Grieve

From Sesame Workshop: “The death of a parent is one of the most challenging things a child can face, and shockingly an estimated 2.5% of children under age 18 have experienced the death of a parent (approximately 2.5 million children)* and on March 10, 2010 TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) estimated that the 5,398 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan had left 3,779 children without a parent, while 2,669 spouses had been widowed. In response, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, is launching When Families Grieve, an outreach initiative that provides free resources in support of families with young children, in the military and the general public, coping with the death of a parent.

When Families Grieve will launch with the premiere of a one hour primetime television special on PBS featuring Katie Couric and the Sesame Street Muppets airing nationwide on April 14th at 8:00 PM ET/ PT (check local listings). The special, produced by Sesame Workshop, in association with Worldwide Pants Incorporated and Lookalike Productions, will present families’ personal stories about coping with the death of a parent, as well as strategies that have helped these families move forward.

Katie Couric joins Sesame Street Muppets Elmo, Rosita and Jesse, and children who have lost a parent, in planting a tree at Madison Square Park in NYC, to honor those who have passed away as part of a Sesame Workshop outreach initiative, When Families Grieve. PBS will premiere an original special, “When Families Grieve,” on April 14 at 8pm and the free outreach kit, which will also be available online at http://www.sesamestreet.org, will roll-out on April 15. (Photo credit: Sesame Workshop/Gil Vaknin)

Immediately following the special, Sesame Workshop will begin the roll out of close to one million free multimedia kits to families and grief service providers nationwide. Through partnerships with organizations within the military (including The USO) and the general public that already provide services and resources to grieving families, Sesame Workshop will ensure that kits reach those who need them most. Organizational partnerships include Military Services casualty offices, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), childhood grief centers, national nonprofit aid organizations, professional associations, religious communities, foster parents, and others. All materials will also be available online at sesamestreet.org/grief beginning April 15.

We are proud to support the Talk, Listen, Connect series and hope you’ll watch the PBS special tonight.  And take a moment to learn more about the resources from Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes and The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families, which returns stateside in 2010.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Spring Tour Gets Off to a Great Start!

Four of today’s most talented figures in film, television and football are participating in a USO tour led by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.  Special guests James Gandolfini, Rose McGowan, Tony Sirico, and Jon Stinchcomb will visit with Troops, sign autographs, and more on this weeklong tour.

Admiral Mullen had this to say about his experiences with the USO: “I am delighted to once again be traveling with the USO and a great group of entertainers and celebrities who only want to give back to the troops.  It means a lot to me that they would take time out of their busy schedules to do this, but it means a great deal more to the men and women down range and in harm’s way. It’s going to be a great trip.”

Likewise, James Gandolfini – who is on his second trip – echoes that sentiment: “Our troops are some of the brightest and bravest men and women I’ve ever met.  Sadly, they don’t always get the appreciation and recognition they deserve.  The USO allows me the privilege to meet them in person, show them my gratitude and thank them for their service.”
Check out the first set of pictures from the tour!

Former "Sopranos" stars James Gandolfini (center, back row in green), and Tony Sirico (4th L back row) along with New Orleans Saints offensive tackle/Super Bowl XLIV champion Jon Stinchcomb (3rd L back row) pose with airmen and pilots during a USO meet and greet at an airfield in the Persian Gulf on March 29, 2010. The group is in the region as part of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

New Orleans Saints offensive tackle/Super Bowl XLIV champion Jon Stinchcomb has his picture taken with service members during a March 29, 2010, stop on aa seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. In 1966, the NFL teamed up with the USO and became the first sports organization to send a group of players to Vietnam and other parts of Asia, demonstrating the league's support for America's troops. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

Actors Tony Sirico (back row C) and James Gandolfini (back row 2nd R) along with New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb pose for a photo with the aircrew of a blackhawk helicopter during a seven-day overseas USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen March 28, 2010. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

Former "Sopranos" stars James Gandolfini (R) and Tony Sirico (C) are given a tour of an MRAP armored vehicle during a USO tour stop at a forward operating base in the Persian Gulf on March 28, 2010. In the region as part of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, this is the duo's second USO tour. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Actor and former "Sopranos" star Tony Sirico sits in the pilot's seat of a blackhawk helicopter on March 28, 2010, as part of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Sirico is touring with fellow "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb and actress Rose McGowan. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Three-time Emmy winner James Gandolfini (c) poses for a photo with a soldier on March 29, 2010, during an overseas stop of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Avid supporter of the U.S. armed forces, Gandolfini produced an HBO documentary entitled "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" in 2007. Centered around ten Iraq veterans wounded in early to mid 2000, the piece debuted in September. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

Don’t Miss the Army Wives Season 4 Premiere on April 11th!

Army WivesGet ready for a season four of Army Wives!  Your favorite cast of military spouses and servicemembers returns on April 11, 2010 at 10PM EST with all new episodes on Lifetime.

To celebrate the start of this new season, we have a great offer for you!  Beginning today, visit BlueMountain.com to create and share an Army Wives eCard (just scroll down until you see the USO logo).  And the best part? Every time you send a FREE sponsored eCard, Lifetime’s Army Wives will donate .50 cents to the USO, up to $10,000.

We’re excited about this opportunity and hope you’ll share these eCards with families and friends.  In the meantime, catch a preview of Season 4 and be sure to tune in two weeks from tonight!

United Through Reading Tonight on NBC Nightly News

Be sure to watch NBC Nightly News this evening, as United Through Reading’s Military Program will be featured!  Learn more about how this innovative program keeps military families connected through the gift of books and a shared story.  Be sure to check your local listings for times.

Can’t wait until tonight to hear about United Through Reading?  Check out this great story from USO Kuwait…

A USO volunteer colors in the United Through Reading logo on a T-wall right outside the USO center at Camp Ali Al Salem. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Sailor’s Hobby Gives Back to USO
by Duane DeVorak, Media Director, Camp Ali Al Salem

Deployed service members dedicate hard work to their job and the branch they serve in; however that does not mean they have to sacrifice their other hobbies and passions.  One sailor uses his skills as a cartoonist to beautify the base and build morale.

The USO at Camp Ali Al Salem (AAS) was trying to promote the already successful United Through Reading program and Keon Moore, one of the Duty Managers at AAS realized one way to do this was to paint one of the T-Walls outside of the center.

“While on a deployment service members look for any opportunity to bring themselves closer to their families.  Whether it’s through morale calls or e-mails there is always a way to reach that love one back home, but another way to connect to the little one in your life is the USO’s UTR program,” said Moore.  “That’s why it’s so important to promote this program.”

USO Volunteers and Duty Manager Keon Moore work on the Dr. Seuss UTR wall into the wee hours of the night to get it done. The wall was painted to help promote the already popular USO program. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Kaopuiki had already painted several walls for Navy Customs here at Camp AAS.  It was no surprise when he was asked to paint one for the USO that he agreed to help out in no time

“I did this for the kids basically,” said Kaopuiki.  “By painting this wall I am able to help promote this program and get service members to read to their children.”

Kaopuiki along with three other USO volunteers completed the wall in about seven hours.  The entire wall was done so quickly thanks to his idea of painting with spray paint.

The theme selected was Dr. Seuss, since the popular character is so well known and people will automatically look to see what the wall is all about.

Since 2006, United Through Reading recordings made by troops at USO centers has steadily increased. In the first year, a little more than 4,200 recordings took place at USO locations. The total number grew to more than 20,000 in 2008 and reached 57,000 in 2009.