An inside view of the USO at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–A host of USO centers took home honors this week – including top overall center USO Las Vegas McCarran International Airport – at Wednesday’s Second Annual Tell USO Awards. The awards are broken down by region and based solely on survey responses given by the troops and families who used the USO’s 160-plus locations around the world in 2013.
Here’s the list of winners:
Top Center: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
- Top Domestic Airport Center, Small Division: Houston Hobby Airport
- Top Domestic Airport Center, Medium Division: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
- Top Domestic Airport Center, Large Division: Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
- Top Domestic Installation Center, Small Division: Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- Top Domestic Installation Center, Medium Division: Fort Belvoir, Virginia
- Top Domestic Installation Center, Large Division: Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia (NMPS)
- Top Community Center: San Antonio Downtown
- Top Europe Center, Small Division: Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany
- Top Europe Center, Large Division: NSA Capodichino Air Terminal, Naples, Italy
- Top Pacific Center, Small Division: Osan Air Base, South Korea
- Top Pacific Center, Large Division: Guam
- Top Southwest Asia Center, Small Division: Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan
- Top Southwest Asia Center, Large Division: Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan
- Most Improved Center: Fort Belvoir, Virginia
- Most Improved Center: Boston Logan International Airport
- Most Improved Center: Camp Marmal, Afghanistan
- Up and Coming Center: NCBC Gulfport, Mississippi
- Up and Coming Center: Dulles International Airport, Virginia
- Up and Coming Center: Fayetteville Regional Airport, North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C.–NASCAR drivers are the latest celebrities to sign The USO’s Every Moment Counts Flag. The USO is in Charlotte this weekend with Presidents Circle partner Coca-Cola for Sunday’s Coke 600. Press play to see what happened when drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears, David Ragan, Josh Wise and others autographed the flag. And don’t forget to thank America’s troops and help the USO break a Guinness World Record by adding your name.
–Video by Joseph Andrew Lee
WASHINGTON—The USO enlisted help from Sesame Street and members of Congress to assemble 1,500 USO Warrior Care Packs for wounded, ill and injured troops at a service project Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
“The USO has always symbolized the outward expression of America’s commitment to our warriors, and now more than ever I think it’s so important,” said Congressman Tim Walz, a USO Congressional Caucus Co-Chair. “The American people care deeply, but they’re busy. … That’s where you and the USO come in to make sure to let them know that we are thinking of them — every moment of every day.”
Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and Katie – a muppet created especially for the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families – helped Congress members and their aides assemble packages in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building. Those packages will head overseas for troops who need them most. Learn more about the USO Warrior Care Pack program and the Sesame Street/USO tour at USO.org.
–Video by Joseph Andrew Lee
Department of Defense photo
Saturday is Armed Forces Day, making it the perfect day to show your support for America’s troops stationed around the world. Here are five ways to show your thanks to America’s troops and their families:
1. Thank a service member: Whether you see someone in uniform traveling through the airport or know one of your neighbors is in the National Guard, take a moment to thank them for their service.
2. Sign the USO flag online: This is perhaps the easiest-to-achieve entry on the list. Just go to USOmoments.org and sign the flag. You’ll get to show our troops your appreciation and help the USO break a Guinness World Record.
3. Share your thanks on social media: The USO has 30,000 interactions with troops every day at our 160-plus centers around the globe. But while we’re making them feel home away from home in person, you can let them know how you feel about them by tweeting or Facebooking your message and then adding the hashtag #USOmoments at the end. And don’t forget to follow the USO on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
4. Head to a Major League game in one of these four cities: The USO will have a significant presence at ballparks around the country on Saturday. If you’re going to a game in Chicago (Cubs), Cleveland, Houston or Washington, take a walk to find the USO booth and sign a piece of the Every Moment Counts flag. Then, take a photo of yourself near the flag table and put it on Twitter or Instagram with the #USOmoments hashtag. We’ll pick one winner next week to send an Every Moment Counts T-shirt.
5. And if you’re in North Carolina … : You can celebrate all day in the Tar Heel state, as Gov. Pat McCrory issued an official citation proclaiming May 17 as Armed Forces Day to celebrate the state’s 800,000 veterans and 132,000 uniformed personnel:
It’s been a month since the mudslide disaster in Oso, Wash., claimed 39 lives and shattered even more families – many with loved ones still to be recovered.
The loss of Navy Cmdr. John Regelbrugge III of the USS John C. Stennis and Chief Petty Officer Billy L. Spillers stationed at Naval Station Everett brought the mudslide to the military community’s doorstep.
During the emergency, USO Northwest rallied to assist the recovery team and the National Guard. USO Northwest’s Seattle-Tacoma Airport Center and its Shali Center on Joint Base Louis-McChord sent much-needed supplies to those helping with the cleanup.
On April 1, Girl Scout Cookies collected and stored at the Shali Center were loaded into vehicles for the Washington Army National Guard J9 unit. The unit is responsible for deployment cycle support, family readiness and overall service member and family well-being.
“I had been thinking all morning about how nice it would be if some of the cookies could go to the National Guard troops helping out at the Oso landslide,” said USO volunteer Herb Schmelling. “So I was truly delighted when representatives of the WANG J9 arrived to pick up cookies for the Oso troops.”
The SeaTac USO center has donated 10 25-pound bags of coffee, 21 boxes of energy bars and 1,000 candy bars to the National Guard troops assisting in the recovery.
“We will continue to help the recovery team and our military community with anything they need,” USO SeaTac Center Manager Bill Baker said.
–Meaghan Cox, USO Northwest
FORT BELVOIR, Va.-The USO Warrior and Family Center here serves a unique community, and couldn’t operate without a cadre of trained volunteers. The center caters to wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers and families recovering from both visible and invisible wounds of war.
“Our volunteers here are amazing,” said Pam Horton, Director of USO Warrior and Family Centers. “There is not a chance we could have done a tenth of what we’ve done if they hadn’t been here.”
The USO is proud to celebrate National Volunteer Week. Our 29,000-plus volunteers donate roughly 1.5 million hours of service each year. They’re the reason the service members and their families who walk through our doors more than 8 million times each year feel welcome.