It’s Time for the USO Gala!

USO President Sloan Gibson (center) poses with this year's Regional Honorees, including (l-r) Michael Lewis, Country Director, USO Germany; Robin Crouse, Center Director, USO Fort Hood; and Christine Gunderson, Duty Manager, USO Balad, who is accompanied by her mother, Colleen Curtis. (USO photo by Em Hall)

We’re so excited for our annual gala tonight!  Over 1,000 military leaders, celebrities and special guests will be in attendance as we honor our troops with the theme “A Salute to Military Families.”

We have a special treat for you, too, because for the first time ever we’re live streaming the USO Gala!  You can view the entire event on Military.com tonight beginning at 7pm.  We’ll also be live blogging the entire evening, as well as updating Facebook and Twitter.  If you’re also on Twitter, be sure to give us your feedback by using the hashtag #USOGala

We hope you’ll be a part of this amazing evening, as Master of Ceremonies Bill Engvall, musical guest Trisha Yearwood, and many more celebrities and special guests take the stage.  Admiral Thad Allen, Former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, will be recognized as the Spirit of the USO Honoree

Our 2010 honorees include Sergeant Zachary C. Dispennette, U.S. Army; Petty Officer Robert D. Emley, U.S. Coast Guard; Staff Sergeant Gino P. Kahaunaele, U.S. Air Force; Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, U.S. Navy; Sergeant Eric B. Walker, U.S. Marine Corps; and USO Volunteer of the Year Herbert Carl Schmeling Jr., USO of Puget Sound Area, WA.

We’ll “see” you online tonight as we celebrate our troops and their families together!

Breaking the Roles: Jeffrey Ross

Jeffrey Ross entertains the troops at an USO show on Bagram Air Field, August 19, 2005. (U.S. Army photo by SPC Joshua Balog)

“Through Independence Day, HuffPost Impact is running a series of stories called “Breaking the Roles,” highlighting the servicemen and women of our armed forces who don’t typically see the media spotlight, and the remarkable work of the USO, who are tireless in their efforts to support all who defend our country.”

We’re thrilled to announce this six-part series,  running online at the Huffington Post‘s in partnership with Causecast, that tells untold stories of those who support our men and women in uniform!  Check back each day to see the latest interview.

Today kicks off with a hilarious interview of Jeffrey Ross, by Jonathan Daniel Harris.  Ross is a longtime supporter of the USO and the military.  His directorial debut, “Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie” captured his own life changing experience traveling on a USO tour and entertaining American soldiers stationed around Iraq during the early days of the war.  It screened at many top festivals and even won Best Picture at the Montreal Comedy Festival.  Click here to read our latest blog post on Jeffrey Ross and be sure to follow him on Twitter.

You can also follow HuffPoImpact on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  And let us know what you think of the series!

USO’s Around the World are on Twitter!

By now you’ve probably noticed that little “Tweet! Tweet!” box on the right-hand side of the blog is constantly updated with new information in 140 characters or less.  That’s our Twitter feed!

Not familiar with Twitter?  Well, it’s free and it’s fun and we find it’s a good way to keep you all informed about what’s happening here at the USO.  We also have @USOPrograms with all of the latest news on our programs and services around the world and @USOEntertains which keeps you up to date on the latest in celebrity tours!

And did you know that USO Centers around the world are also Tweeting?  Here’s a quick rundown of who you might want to follow.  Be sure to leave comments on other great military-related people and organizations on Twitter who we should be following!  Just try to keep your recommendation to 140 characters or less…ha!

Exclusive Interview with 4Troops – and a Twitter Contest for #MilitaryMon

4Troops

Can’t get enough of 4Troops?  Neither can we!

Fresh off appearances on Fox and Friends Friday and Good Morning America, the group is poised to make a big splash with their self-titled debut album, available everywhere April 20.  Our favorite part?  A portion of proceeds will benefit the USO and other charities that support Troops and veterans.

In honor of #MilitaryMon on Twitter, they’ve put together a contest just for their fans!  From Monday March 22 – Monday March 29, Twitter users can follow @4troops on Twitter and retweet this message: “#militarymon @4troops performing on QVC 3-29-10 from 12-1pm – Tune In! Make Music to Support…the Troops!”  Five users will be chosen at random to win a 4Troops CD & t-shirt set.

No Twitter?  No problem!  The members of 4Troops – Daniel Jens, Meredith Melcher, David Clemo, and Ron Henry (L to R in photo at right) – recently sat down with USO Radio to talk music, the military, and how their group came to be.  Take a moment to learn more about their inspiring story…

Tweet to Support the Fort Hood Community!

This Friday, the denizens of Fort Hood will hold “Community Strong,” an event to show how they’ve rallied together to support their Troops, families, and everyone touched by the events of November 5. The USO has been there all the way, providing basic needs to those on the base in the aftermath, and continuing that support to this day from our USO Center and USO Mobile units, and other locations on base.

Now it’s YOUR chance to show your support for Fort Hood! Use the hashtag #CommunityStrong all this week whenever you talk about Fort Hood, culminating on Friday when we hope the anticipated 50,000 attendees will help make this a trending topic on Twitter. How cool would that be?  Make sure to follow us @the_USO and we’ll retweet live updates from the event. “Tweet” you there!