How Can I Help
For more than 80 years, the USO has given so much to troops and their families. If youre interested in sending a birthday gift to the USO, you have some options. You can send a message to a deployed troop or give back in any one of the ways listed below.
Heres a look at how you can wish the USO a happy birthday in February:
- Make a donation Make a one-time or monthly tax-deductible donation. Donations will go toward running USO centers, programs, and connecting military families.
- Set-up planned gifts Consider the USO during estate planning.
- Select a USO Wishbook gift Give an alternative gift for birthdays, weddings, or holidays via the USO catalog. Purchase board games, phone calls, or holiday meals to go to a deployed service member.
- Volunteer Register to volunteer at a USO Chapter near you.
If you want to stay connected, consider downloading the USO Mobile app to learn more about programs, entertainment, and programs.
What are your favorite USO benefits? Share your USO experiences in the comments below!
The History Of The Uso
In 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt united several service organizations into one to lift the morale of our military and to bring support to the home front. Thus began the USO. Their support since that day has provided over 7 decades of service to our military members and their families. Their heritage is simple as the creed always by their side, and they will remain there until they all come home.
The Uso Strengthens Americas Military Service Members By Keeping Them Connected To Family Home And Country Throughout Their Service To The Nation
Since 1941, the USO has been the nations leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. From the moment they join, through their assignments and deployments, and as they transition back to their communities, the USO is always by their side.
Todays USO continuously adapts to the needs of our men and women in uniform and their families, so they can focus on their very important mission. We operate USO centers at or near military installations across the United States and throughout the world, including in combat zones, and even un-staffed USO service sites in places too dangerous for anyone but combat troops to occupy.
USO airport centers throughout the country offer around-the clock hospitality for traveling service members and their families. Our trademark USO tours bring America and its celebrities to service members who are assigned far from home, to entertain them and convey the support of the nation. And our many specialized programs offer a continuum of support to service members throughout their journey of service, from the first time they don the uniform until the last time they take it off.
The USO is not part of the federal government. A congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities, and is powered by a family of volunteers to accomplish our mission of connection.
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What Does Uso Mean And Who Started The Uso
USO stands for United Service Organizations, and theres a rich history behind that name.
On Feb. 4, 1941, just before the U.S. entered World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt united six civilian service groups into one organization to lift the morale of our growing Armed Forces. Those entities the Salvation Army, Young Mens Christian Association , Young Womens Christian Association , National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board became the United Service Organizations, or the USO.
Today, the USO no longer has formal ties to these six founding organizations and is an autonomous nonprofit supported by charitable donations. Interestingly, several of the founding groups that came together to form the USO still operate to this day as separate charitable organizations.
Is The Uso Part Of The Government
The USO is not part of the U.S. government and is a nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to serving the military.
While the USO has a Congressional Caucus and works closely with the Department of Defense, the USO is a private charity and has always been funded by the generous support of individual donors, grants and corporate partners. Without the support of donors, the USO would be unable to accomplish its mission of supporting todays military members.
Fun fact: The USO is a congressionally-chartered organization, which means that the United States Congress passed a symbolic law that stated the mission, authority and activities of the USO. Only a handful of nonprofits and organizations have this designation!
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Uso Locations At Overseas Installations And Forward
USO facilities found at overseas military bases offer many services, depending on mission and location. Some locations are fully staffed with volunteers, managers and organizers. According to the USO, others, located in places too dangerous for anyone but combat troops to occupy, are unstaffed.
Another innovative approach at certain locations is the use of mobile canteens, built out of four-wheel-drive vehicles, that can provide access to email, phone calls and rest services.
In 2019 alone, an estimated 8.1 million people visited USO facilities worldwide.
I Am Stationed On A Base In The United States How Can We Get A Uso Tour
The USO supports many global entertainment programs please send us a request here for consideration and include a request on letterhead from your Command. Once this information has been submitted, a representative from the USO will be in touch regarding next steps. We try to fulfill as many requests as possible but cannot guarantee any specific performances or performers.
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Organizations Doing Good For Veterans And Their Families
There are more than 45,000 military and veteran non-profits in the United States. It’s hard to know which ones are legitimate, and worth giving your time and hard-earned money. You need to know whether your donations are funding services for those in need, especially with so many recently exposed scams.
With respect and recognition at the core of our mission, we would like to recognize the following trusted organizations, many of which we have been privileged to work with and donate to over the years. We commend them for the quality of services they deliver to our nation’s veterans:
How Did The Uso Begin
Before the start of Americas involvement in World War II, President Roosevelt started on the USO initiative in 1941. He thought it would be wise to unite multiple service associations that served communities and would lift military morale.
- Young Mens Christian Association
- Young Womens Christian Association
- National Catholic Community Services
- National Travelers Aid Association
- National Jewish Welfare Board
Those six organizations united and offered their services to whats now known as the USO. For the last seven decades, the USO has offered support and morale boosters to service members.
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What Programs Does The Uso Offer
Programs depend on the current state of operations, location, budget and availability of volunteers but may include the following:
The Bob Hope Reading Legacy Program One of the many features of this program is long-distance bedtime stories. Deployed service members can record themselves reading bedtime stories to send to their families back home.
USO Stronger Families Couples Seminar This program is designed to help couples strengthen and rekindle relationships, work on tough issues and more in a safe environment that facilitates communication. Some of the important topics addressed in these seminars deal with readjustment issues when service members return home from deployments.
USO Operation Phone Home Despite living in an age of cell phones and online chat options, the USOs Operation Phone Home program is still important, connecting deployed and remotely assigned military members with family back home.
This program began as a simple phone card program but branched out to include internet access and a private telephone network. Those in forward-deployed locations where phone and internet rooms are not available receive free calling cards to help stay in touch with those back home.
The Uso Airport Lounge
The USO operates centers for service members in a variety of locations, including airports, where 24-hour USO lounges are open for traveling service members and their dependents. They feature televisions, internet, sleeping areas, books and other amenities.
Only those carrying military ID can enter these lounges.
The lounges have a variety of uses, but they are most helpful for those taking long journeys on leave, temporary duty or reassignment to faraway places.
Military travelers with extended layovers or traveling Space-A find these USO lounges as quiet places to sleep until the next flight is called and dont need to resort to hotels or uncomfortable snoozes in the airlines waiting area.
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Operation Care & Comfort
OCC provides support and comfort to “adopted” units of deployed U.S. military service members, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict regions. Working within communities and through donations received from all over the country, OCC assembles and ships care packages to adopted units every month until they return home. They currently support up to 200 units on a monthly basis.
Veterans Advantage has supplied hundreds of free VetRewards Cards that Operation Care and Comfort sends to our troops overseas.
The Uso Evolves Again
The cycle of financial difficulty following the end of a major conflict repeated with the Vietnam conflict. While the USO was very busy during the Vietnam conflict, it kept a low profile in the peacetime years. In 1977, it relocated key operations from New York City to Washington D.C., and grew closer to the government.
In 1979, the original founding agencies severed ties with the organization, and the federal government gave the USO its charter.
Toward the end of the 20th century, the agency put greater emphasis on making life easier for military families. The USO played an important role for troops and families in both Gulf Wars, operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Today, the USO has served an estimated 35 million Americans at home and overseas.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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Vietnam Veterans Of America
Founded in 1978, Vietnam Veterans of America is a national non-profit organization that advocates for Vietnam Vets through legislation, community support, and local and national events that recognize veterans from all service eras. VVA’s mission is to ensure that Vietnam Vets get the care and respect that they have earned.
Veterans Advantage Co-founder and CEO, Scott Higgins, is a personal friend of Bobby Mueller, the founder of Vietnam Veterans of America. Scott contributed financially to help get the organization off the ground in their early years and continues to support their advocacy work today.
Did You Say Uso Or Vso
Researched and Written by Know A Vet?
Weve talked with hundreds of Veterans and family members at events and asked if they had gone to their VSO. Almost universally the response was that they had not seen any of the VSO shows. People had not heard of a VSO and thought we were talking about USO shows for the troops in theater.
USO and VSO are separate entities. One serves the U.S. Armed Forces active duty military community. The other serves the Veteran community.
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Children Of Fallen Patriots Foundation
As a scholarship program for children who have lost a parent in the line of duty, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation provides much-needed support for struggling military kids and surviving spouses.
The organization was started by David Kim, Army Officer who went to West Point, and his wife, Cynthia, who happen to be neighbors of Veterans Advantage Co-founders Scott and Lin Higgins in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Founded In The 1940s History Of The Uso
Ever since the 1940s, the USO has existed to provide recreational, entertainment and morale-lifting services to U.S. military service personnel worldwide. Although a non-profit and non-government organization, the USO is in partnership with the Department of Defense, which provides funding and logistics. Private and public contributions are also majorly involved in supporting the USO, which is commonly referred to as a home away from home for service members in foreign lands.
In 1940, Americas military was essentially on alert and escalating both in enlistment and training in preparation for what appeared to be inevitable entry into World War II. President Roosevelt, aware that troops needed the occasional break from their daily routine, approached several private organizations and challenged them to pool their resources to provide recreational and entertainment services for these service personnel. In February 1941, the USO was chartered and soon began Camp Shows at bases within the U.S. Popular entertainers selflessly volunteered to perform for free, and with the U.S. entry into WWII after Pearl Harbor, expanded their services to U.S. outposts globally.
The official motto of the USO is Until Every One Comes Home, and that effectively sums up the organizations goal. For more than 70 years, the USO has provided a few hours respite from the thankless tasks at hand and lifted the spirits and morale of those who needed it the most.
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Who Runs The Uso
Guided by the leadership of the Board of Governors, the USO is run by a family of several hundred staff and thousands of dedicated volunteers.
Volunteers are the heart of the USO without them, the organization wouldnt be able to accomplish its mission.
The USO has a network of 30,000 volunteers spread out across the world at over 250 locations. These dedicated people do everything from serving food and organizing spouse events, to taking the midnight shift at the USOs 24-hour locations and greeting center guests at the front desk. Even during 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 18,000 volunteers still stepped up to serve over 750,000 hours with the USO.
What Programs And Services Does The Uso Offer
The USO offers a variety of programs and services designed to support our service members and their families. Download the USO mobile app or visit the following pages to learn more about what we do for Deployed Service Members, Military Families, Transitioning Troops, Families of the Fallen and Wounded, Ill and Injured Service Members.
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What Does The Uso Do
The USO is essentially a morale-boosting, fun-loving organization focused on bringing joy and smiles to the faces of military families. The most impressive part is its dedicated 30,000+ volunteers who give their time annually to the organization.
The USOs mission statement is clear about its intentions: The USO strengthens Americas military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.
Best of all, these events are free and open to active duty U.S. military and their families, both stateside and overseas.
I Am Stationed Overseas How Can We Get A Uso Tour
If you have a suggestion for a tour to come to your base, contact your Base Services representative or Morale, Welfare and Recreation representative and ask them to contact us. Please note the USO recruits talent for tours but does not determine the location of those tours. We do work in close partnership with the Department of Defense and share the requests we get from the field with them.
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Intrepid Foundations & Museum
The Intrepid Family of Foundations funds The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The Fisher House Foundation, The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and The Intrepid Relief Fund, making a difference in the lives of countless military, veterans and their families through aid and educational experiences.
Veterans Advantage supports the Museum and it’s various educational programs, and Ken Fisher and Gerry Byrne, who are also on the board of the museum, are on our Board of Advisors.
History Of United Service Organizations
Roots in World War II
The money the group raised was quickly spent on installations across the United States and behind the front lines in Europe. The foremost function of the USO clubs was to keep soldiers and sailors occupied before they shipped out. The United States had a relatively small military before World War II. The country instituted a draft in 1940, and by the end of the war the United States had 12 million people in uniform. Many soldiers were young and had never been away from home before. Rural army bases often had no entertainment facilities beyond perhaps one small movie theater. Conversely, big cities offered a wealth of diversions that could be overwhelming for small-town enlistees. USO centers and clubs opened near bases and in areas where large numbers of military personnel passed through. The clubs provided free coffee and snacks, and civilians, mainly women, could volunteer to work at the USO centers, doing whatever was needed. This could be cooking, cleaning, chatting, or serving as a dance partner.
Adapting to New Roles after World War II
New Challenges in the 1980s-90s
In 1987, an American sailor died in a grenade attack on a USO club in Barcelona, Spain. In 1988, the USO club in Naples, Italy, was struck by a car bomb. Five people died and more than a dozen were wounded. Even in peacetime, the American military presence abroad was often resented, and the USO, as a gathering place for soldiers, was targeted.
USO in the Gulf Wars
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Is The Uso An Agency Of The United States Government
The USO is a nonprofit, charitable corporation chartered by Congress that relies on donations from individuals, organizations and corporations to support its programs. It is not an agency of the United States Government. However, every president has been the Honorary Chairman of the USO since 1941. Learn more about the history of the USO.