Photos From the Field – Labor Day Edition

Our service men and women around the world never take a day off, and neither do we!  There are a variety of picnics and parades taking place at USO Centers, and our dedicated staff and volunteers will be there.  As a special Labor Day treat, we’re bringing you the best in USO photography from around the world.  Enjoy this special holiday installment of our photo essays!

(P.S. – if you know any of the photographers of images that don’t credit one, please let us know!)

The USO Warrior Center enjoyed a surprise visit from Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Sept. 4, 2010. Note the copy of On Patrol magazine on the table in the background! (DoD Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

No, it's not a cell phone commercial, it's just golfers at the 19th Annual USO Golf Tournament in Stuttgart. Held at Korwestheim Golf Course, the tournament serves as fun cultural event to bring together USO Stuttgart's American and German friends! (Photo courtesy of USO-Stuttgart's Facebook page)

The USO Puget Sound Area Gala 2010 is scheduled for Friday, October 1st at the Museum of Flight, where this picture was recently snapped. For more information on the event - or to purchase tickets - contact Gala Chair Nancy Strom, vnstrom@aol.com. (Photo courtesy of USO Puget Sound Facebook page)

USO of Indiana - in coordination with the University Relations Division of the University of Notre Dame - encouraged staff and their families to create their own personalized thank you message for the troops, which will be taken to the USO center at Camp Atterbury, as well to the USO Airport Center in Indianapolis. (Photo courtesy of USO of Indiana's Facebook page)

A dark and stormy day at USO Fort Riley! Luckily the storm steered clear of the center, but we couldn't resist this picture! (Photo courtesy of USO Fort Riley Facebook page)

You know that the new USO Center at Kandahar is just about ready to open when the theater gets furniture! This center has been months and months in the making and we can't wait for it to open. (Photo courtesy of USO Kandahar Facebook page)

Photos From the Field – August 2010

Periodically, we’re bringing you the best in USO photography from around the world.  Enjoy this second installment of our photo essays!

(P.S. – if you know any of the photographers of images that don’t credit one, please let us know!)

Earlier this summer, USO New England held a luncheon for Wounded Warrior and many others to commemorate the Battle of the Midway on the USS Constitution Underway. (Photo by Nicole Mantopoulos, all rights reserved)

Some wildlife from Westfield, MA, in its natural habitat... (Photo courtesy of Pioneer Valley USO Facebook page)

The Guam USO Center gives visitors a real island feel, complete with local flora! (Photo courtesy of USO Guam Facebook page)

Outside of the USO at Joint Base Balad at sunset. You can almost forget where you are. (USO photo by Erin Corcoran)

On August 6th, 2010 the USO Warrior Center hosted an event with Stuttgart BOSS. The group came down to cook up some brats, hot dogs, and hamburgers for the wounded warriors. It was a fun and relaxing afternoon! (Photo courtesy of USO Warrior Center Facebook page)

The 159th recovering Fort Campbell USO's helicopter from the range. The 159th is going to refurbish this piece and then it is going into the USO center. (Photo courtesy of Fort Campbell USO Facebook page)

News & Notes From Around the World

Baghdad, Iraq – The USO in Baghdad sponsored a “235th Birthday for the Army Jag” 5K run.  For those of you familiar with the terrain, the runners started at Signal Hill on Camp Victory.  Over 450 people show up for this early morning weekend run. The USO had T-shirts for all the runners and plaques for the top 3 fastest male and female participants.  Congrats to all!

Runners stretched in preparation of a 5K run sponsored by the USO. (Photo by USO Baghdad)

Landstuhl, Germany – On July 30, 2010 the USO Warrior Center hosted an event with Heidelberg Sports and Fitness.  A group came down to cook out for the wounded warriors and give away some T-shirts designed especially for the event.  Menu choices included ribs, pork steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, bratwurst, baked beans, potato salad, corn on the cob, vegetarian chili, watermelon, and garlic bread.  Yummy!

The event also fell on their Flashback Friday tradition, so a couple of older sports-themed movies were shown during the dinner, including “Bull Durham” and “Hoosiers.”  The turnout for the event was great, with 100 wounded warriors in attendance.  Nearly every wounded warrior echoed this warrior’s feelings, “this is the best food I have had in a long time.”

The wounded warriors were grateful to the Heidelberg crew for grilling for them and to the USO for hosting another successful event. (Photo by USO Warrior Center)

Basrah, Iraq – Texas Hold’em has quickly become a base favorite at USO Basrah. Every seat in the house was full once again as soldiers competed to make it to the final table. The addition of new trophies for the top card sharks had everyone playing their hands tight and bringing their best game face to the table.  Though not everyone walked away a champion, everyone had the chance to hone their skills and prepare…for next month’s tournament.  For more pictures, visit USO Basrah on Facebook by clicking here.

The poker tables were packed as Troops anted up for a tournament. (Photo by USO Basrah)

USO Naples’ “Got Talent,” a Visit from the Mobile Canteen, and a Chili Dinner at the Warrior Center!

On February 26, USO Naples – with support from United Airlines – hosted a talent show – and did the talent come out in force!  The winners received two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the US.  Check out the coverage from AFN:

USO Kaiserslautern was at the Ramstein Commissary on Saturday March 20 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm with the Mobile canteen to support the commissary’s “March Madness Club Pack Sale” and show appreciation to the Kaiserslautern Military Community.  Thanks to the generosity of DeCA and other sponsors, USO Kaiserslautern gave out free hot dogs, chips, popcorn, drinks, cookies, books and magazines to more than 800 loyal customers. USO volunteers and staff handed out children’s DVDs and small toys to each child that was present. The event was very successful with smiling faces and donations to support the Troops.

Learn more about our USO Mobile Program!

Military families line up at the USO Mobile canteen for snacks, courtesy of USO Kaiserslautern.

On March 21, the USO Warrior Center hosted three amazing chefs from the States. Blake Powers from Soldiers’ Angels and the ladies from Yellow Bowl Bakery, Molly Greenwood and Katy Gunderson (Manager of Operations/Founder of Bakers without Borders) prepared an awesome Chili and Dessert Dinner for 125 wounded warriors.

The wounded warriors were very impressed by the spread the chefs prepared.  One wounded warrior asked the chefs who cooked the desserts, when Molly and Katy replied that they both made them he said, “I know that it’s illegal, but I would love to marry both of you!”

This was an awesome night with wonderful food and great company.  The USO Warrior Center would like to give a very special thank you to Blake, Molly, and Katy for coming out and cooking for the wounded.

(L to R) Chefs Blake "Laughing Wolf" Powers, Katy Gunerson, and Molly Greenwood show of their certificates with Melissa Parkins of the USO Warrior Center

USO’s Wearing O’ the Green

St. Patrick’s Day is just for the Irish? Not at USO Centers around the world, where Troops, staff, and volunteers celebrated their Irish heritage (real or imagined!) with refreshments, entertainment, and a jig or two. Check out some pictures from this week’s celebrations…

On March 16th, 2010, the USO Warrior Center hosted a Pre-St. Patty's Day celebration. The wounded warriors enjoyed a wonderful performance by the Tir na nOg Dancers. The dancer's ages ranged from 7-17 years old. During the delicious home cooked Irish dinner the wounded warriors were entertained by an Irish band from Dublin, Ireland named, Bog O' the Lough. This was a great night and the 100 wounded warriors in attendance had a great time. Several wounded warriors stated they had a great time letting loose and celebrating Irish style!

USO and MRW at Camp Virginia co-hosted our annual St. Patrick’s Day party on . . . St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)! The Dusty Room was beautifully decorated for the occasion in numerous shades of green. Partygoers played Toss the Gold Coin, Pin the Shamrock on the Leprechaun, and Musical Chairs. We held a raffle and provided chips, dips, green O’Doul’s, and a beautiful and delicious cake. Everyone in attendance had a brilliantly good time.

The CASF USO staff hosted a St Patty's day dinner for approximately 50 members of the CASF staff on March 17, 2010. The staff joined in by cooking fresh reuben sandwiches and making rootbeer floats We offered goodies such as Irish stew, shepherds pie and dessert right here in the USO. We played pin the leaf on the shamrock for a $50 USO tour voucher. The deployed staff here do not have a kitchen in their rooms or family here with them. We try to make sure they know they are appreciated and well fed. If we can help them to feel at home for even a moment we have done our job well.

Looks What’s Happening at USO Europe!

USO Europe is making a difference of our men and woman in uniform every day.  Take a look at some of their latest news and events…

The CASF USO staff hosted Hug a GI Day. March 4th is National Hug a GI Day and we handed out lots of hugs and made some homemade chili with cheese, sour cream and chips. One volunteer brought dessert for the patients. Five volunteers and two USO staff helped hand out the chili and hand out the hugs to over 40 well deserving service members, both patients and CASF staff. Overall the night was a complete success with the patients getting a good bowl of chili and a whole lot of hugs.

On March 4, 2010 the USO Warrior Center hosted a Wii Bowling Tournament and dinner night for the wounded warriors. The warriors really enjoyed the meal and the participants of the tournament had a great time competing against each other. One of the competitors liked the competition so much that he is going to buy a Wii when he returns stateside. Fifty wounded warriors who attended the event.

For 3 days the USO Naples set up an info point onboard the USS Ramage to assist sailors with local info, directions, phone cards, free snacks, and also ran a special giveaways for DVD movies and a digital camera.

NSA Capodichino holds a quarterly event to recognize the Sailors of the Quarters from all the area commands. Guest Speaker is RADM John Richardson.USO Naples coordinates a plentiful luncheon buffet in the Air Terminal USO Lounge, for this special event that gives the sailors an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments.

The Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA) of Landstuhl provided beef stew, chicken and dumplings, bean soup, chili, and cornbread for the wounded warriors (an in-kind donation).