Tell Us About Your Favorite Program!

Many people know the USO for our celebrity entertainment tours and USO Centers in airports around the world.  But did you know that we have a variety of programs that can be enjoyed by service members far beyond the reaches of a center or tour.

And we continue to grow!  Our newest program – Operation Enduring Care – is a “comprehensive long-term initiative to support America’s Wounded Warriors and their families.”  And many local USO Centers also offer programs and services that are unique to the populations they serve.   Your USO is changing…but the fact that we support our Troops and their families will always remain.

Take our quick poll to let us know which program is your favorite, or which one your family enjoys the most.  We’re always looking for feedback and love to hear your personal stories.  PLUS, two lucky blog comments will be chosen at random to win a special USO Prize Pack!  (Sorry, but USO employees and their families are not eligible)

Vote for your favorite above, add your original idea below, and be sure to check out this short video that shows USO2GO in action!

To Infinity…and Beyond

USO Centers are located around the world, serving Troops and their families in over 140 locations. But is that enough? We recently asked ourselves, Is there a location not being served? Where can the USO boldly go?

One word: Space. How illogical not to serve those who serve us, even at an intergalactic level, we thought. That’s why we’re proud to announce two new initiatives: the building of a USO Center on the International Space Station (ISS) and the expansion of our USO2Go program to include USO2GO: Lunar Module.

NASA and the U.S. Military have a long history, with military training being one of the surest ways to get to pilot a spacecraft. Active duty military are some of the top recruits to the astronaut program. So it just made sense to extend our reach into space.

The new USO Center on the International Space Station will feature all the comforts of home, including iPod equipped space helmets.

Admiral Ackbar – current commander of the ISS – is thrilled at the prospect of a USO Center on board: “Many of our crew members are stuck all today conducting science experiments.  The chance to relax with the comforts of home – albeit in a zero gravity environment – is a huge morale booster.  We especially like that the USO will stock butter pecan – in addition to the traditional Neapolitan flavor – of Space Ice Cream.”

When deciding to expand our programs and services we consulted numerous experts, including world-renowned physician Dr. McCoy, who had this to say about the importance of serving every individual possible: “In this galaxy there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all that, and perhaps more…only one of each of us.”

USO2GO: Lunar Module ensures that when we colonize the moon in the future, inhabitants will have essential things like Guitar Hero and snacks.

General Grievous said he’d been asking for something like this for the astronauts and crew of the ISS ever since he first visited a USO Center in the 1970s while stationed in Southeast Asia.  “I feel like I’ve been shouting about this from the rooftops forever,” explained the General.  “But, as they say, in space, no one can hear you scream.”

Standard offerings like the USO Care Package will also be available to the men and women of the ISS and – eventually – the moon.  USO Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications John Hanson is thrilled at the prospect of serving more people with these renowned USO programs.  “I just hope that our space program can – like other offerings from the USO – live long and prosper.  We do rely on the generosity of individual donors to provide land- and space-based support, unlike Astronaut Barbie, who completely sold out.”

Astronauts unload boxes of care packages for the crew onboard. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku books can go a long way to combating space-related boredom.

Both programs are set to debut in December of 2012 or – as the Mayans call it – “the end of days.”  We have no doubt that these programs will come to be enjoyed by tens, if not dozens, of former active duty military and the occasional space chimp.  Admiral Ackbar summed it up best when he said, “This is one small step for the ISS and the moon, and one giant leap for the USO.”

So say we all.  So say we all.

USO2GO

Okay, let’s say you’re sitting a remote base in Iraq or Afghanistan, and you spend all of your waking hours working or wishing you had something else to occupy your time.

Resources are scant. Maybe you and your comrades crowd around a laptop computer to watch the same video.  Who would blame you if you wondered, “Does anybody know I’m here?”

Now, let’s say your senior NCO contacted the USO and asked for some sporting equipment, some more laptops and movies.  Maybe some snacks or musical instruments.  The USO is answering that call.

The USO2Go program takes these requests, fills them and mails (that’s right, MAILS) dozens of boxes to remote locations across Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

Thanks to our donors, the USO has shipped more than 300 of these USO2Go kits across the region, and the demand for them is growing.

We’re proud of this program, and we are honored to be able to help.

USO2GO Makes Its Way to Iraq – Twice!

U.S Army soldiers from Charlie Company, 1-77 Armored Regiment, 4-1 Armored Division, pose in front of USO2GO Kit boxes, Oct. 24, on Camp Ur, Iraq. U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan B. Owens, 40th Iraqi Army Brigade, Military Transition Team, communications chief, from Alma, Ark., and U.S. Army 1st Lt. Nicholas Ennis, Charlie Company, 1-77 Executive Officer, from Long Island, N.Y., coordinated with the United Service Organizations to have the troop support care packages delivered to the soldiers. 1st Lt. Ennis felt this was a way to “boost the morale of the soldiers” housed on Camp Ur.Charlie Company, 1-77 supports 40th IA BDE MITT and conducts joint patrol missions with the IA and Iraqi police, within Dhi Qar Province in southern Iraq. MITT soldiers live and work with the Iraqi army, as well as train, advise and assist the IA in the areas of intelligence, communications, fire support, logistics, and infantry tactics.Pictured from left to right; Pvt. Dexter Neal, 11B, from Houma, La., Sgt. Jefferson Guillermo, 19K, from Porterville, Calif., Pfc. Jonathan May, 19K, from Harrington, Del., Pfc. Jared Morris, 68W, from Independence, Mo., Pfc. Alex Ayala, 19K, from Bronx, N.Y., Spc. Michael Williams, 11B, from Jackson, Tenn., Sgt. Liam Molinelli, 11B, from Stow, Ohio, Spc. Ryan Adams, 13F, from Holland, Mich., and Pfc. Randy Hamilton, 11B, from Columbus, Ohio. (U.S. Army photo/Sgt. 1st Class Alan B. Owens)

Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment sort boxed contents from their “USO2GO” care packages sent by the USO to Camp Ur, near Nasiriyah, Iraq. The Soldiers are deployed from Fort Bliss, Texas, to advise and assist the 40th Iraqi Army Brigade in Dhi Qar province. U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alan B. Owens, 40th Iraqi Army Brigade, Military Transition Team, communications chief, from Alma, Ark., and U.S. Army 1st Lt. Nicholas Ennis, Charlie Company, 1-77 executive officer, from Long Island, N.Y., coordinated with the United Service Organizations to have the troop support care packages delivered to the Soldiers. 1st Lt. Ennis felt this was a way to “boost the morale of the soldiers” housed on Camp Ur.