Thursday, June 4, 2009

USO in a Box

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, June 3, 2009 – Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Shank here gathered May 27 for the dedication of the first “USO in a Box.”

The facility was dedicated to the soldiers who serve, have served and to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Task Force Spartan soldiers from the 710th Brigade Support Battalion hosted a formal ceremony for the grand opening. Army Col. Marcus Cochran, personnel assistance officer in charge for Combined Joint Task Force 101 was the event’s keynote speaker.

“The USO is a place where any soldier can go and it feels like home,” he said. “It’s a place that offers a break.”

Though it’s small and enclosed within a metal container, the new USO facility comes with all amenities included, making it an oasis for relaxation and fun. It includes a large-screen television, two phones for morale calls, two computers for personal e-mail access and three video-game consoles.

“This facility is the first-ever to be established anywhere in the world,” said Army Capt. Pena De Lucia of the CJTF 101 personnel office, who had a large role in planning the event.

“We saw the need for a facility in this area,” said Kevin Meade, vice president for USO facilities throughout Southwest Asia. “We did extensive research, and this is where our research showed we should establish the first center.”

More portable USOs soon will follow. Two other units have arrived at Bagram Airfield and await transport to destinations in Kunar and Paktia provinces.

“We plan to have 10 facilities set up across Afghanistan, including this one,” Meade said. “Ten facilities will be set up here, and 10 will be sent to Iraq.”

The facilities are part of what Meade refers to as a “three-prong effect,” which includes the portable USO facilities, gaming systems and “USO to Go,” a program that sends soldiers packages of goodies, clothing, board games, and musical instruments.

“What we want is to provide outreach to those soldiers that are out on the more obscure FOBs,” Meade said, “which is why we have made these portable USO facilities so durable, compact and easy to set up.”

After the ceremony, soldiers had a chance to tour the facility. Without a word, they settled down in front of the large TV, dialed up their families or sat down to compete on the gaming systems.

None had to be asked; they all knew what to do: just come in and put their minds at ease for a moment at “a little piece of home” in the middle of their dusty forward base.

(Army Sgt. Amber Robinson serves in the Task Force Spartan public affairs office.)


Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

I love this idea..........a soft place to fall for a few minutes in time for our guys and gals. A little piece of home :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

AirmanMom said...

RG...USO is such an outstanding support organization for our soldiers!

SuzyQ said...

The USO is a great organization!
Thank you USO!!

MightyMom said...


what a great idea!

debk62 said...

Anything that helps our guys get through their deployments gets my vote! The USO is a wonderful organization.

Sarge Charlie said...

The USO is the one thing soldiers have been able to count on for many years, even when the war was unpopular, they provided things like Bob Hope in Vietnam, you cannot believe what it means to the soldier.

11whiskey said...

this is great!

AirmanMom said...

suzyq...we are a blessed nation to have such a wonderful support system for our brave soldiers!

AirmanMom said...

mighty mom...our soldiers deserve these USO boxes!!!

AirmanMom said...


AirmanMom said...

sarge...the USO has been a constant support for our soldiers. They deserve a huge thanks!

AirmanMom said...

11whiskey...I could not agree with you more! Thanks for stopping by!

coffeypot said...

Great idea and about time they made things a little easier for the troops in the outer reagons. Now if they really wanted to give them a little bit of home, serve them a cold beer. But, to be more like home, yell at them, "Get it yourself. Your legs aren't broke."

AirmanMom said...

coffeypot...I agree with you that a cold beer in a USO Box would truly hit the mark to feel like home! Great comment, thanks!

Mary said...


A wonderful idea. I'm sure it will lift morale and I hope that more of these are implemented.

Thanks for the help with my followers widget. I had to remove it and all seems to be well now.


AirmanMom said...

mary...I thank you for stopping by. Hopefully, your blog is up and running once again!!!!

imbeingheldhostage said...

That is fantastic. I had never heard of these before!

AirmanMom said...

ibhh...I felt it was good news worth sharing!