7 Things to Love About the USO

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When I think about organizations that go above and beyond to support troops and military families, one group comes immediately to mind: the USO. It’s not just because I appreciate snacks at the ready when I’m traveling (although let me tell you more about that in a second). It’s because the USO is consistently there for military families and service members in countless ways.

It’s also one of the longest running troop organizations out there, with over 80 years of assisting service members and their families. That’s a lot of sandwiches, shows and support.

And so, in honor of the USO ...

7 Things We Love About the USO


Airport lounges. This gets top billing because it’s the USO service I’ve personally used the most. If you aren’t familiar with the USO’s airport lounges, get familiar today. Located at almost every major airport, USO lounges are open to anyone with a military ID. Present your ID to the helpful volunteer at the front desk, get signed in and behold – snacks, drinks, a place to sit, a wall plug to charge your phone without a throw down with another traveler and, in some lounges, beds in case you get stuck overnight. How can you not love this? Am I gushing? I’ll stop. (But seriously: snacks.)

Traveling show. The USO show is one of the organization’s longest running services. Remember Bob Hope? Yup, preformed USO shows. The USO Show tours overseas and stateside military locations, bringing entertainment to troops all over the world … since 1941. That’s a lot of time on the road.

USO Centers. I’ve already talked about the airport lounges. This is something different. On bases worldwide the USO operates centers where troops and families can hang out, call home, use computers and find a hot meal and friendly faces. The center here at Fort Campbell is downright lavish. Plus the last time I was there they had Girl Scout cookies. Feed me.

Military Spouse Support. Leveraing their USO centers and virtual programming, the USO has some really robust spouse and family programs that don't just focus on free stuff (though I like free stuff), but improve quality of life. That includes their coffe connection meet-ups both virtual and at bases worldwide and the Discovering Your Spark workshop. Led by Brittney Boccher, the 2017 Military Spouse of the Year, these workshops are really aimed at helping you find your passion and purpose. 

Baby showers. I just missed out on getting to participate in one of the USO’s baby showers held at bases worldwide. But I’ve heard about them – and they sound amazing. Since they started in 2013 they’ve showered 13,000 military spouses and still have events planned for the future. If you’re in a baby state of mind, keep your eyes peeled for one near you. This isn’t an event you want to miss.

Kicking homecomings up a notch. While this goodness doesn’t happen for everyone, it’s a great example of how the USO can step in to help families. Military spouse Cecilia McNeff told us about a homecoming for which the USO helped her surprise her four kids with their father’s return on the Meredith Vieira Show. Not only did they greet them in New York with bags of Sesame Street goodies (score!) and take care of their every need, but the most important part -- the surprise -- went off without a hitch.

Transition help. With transition and life after the military always on our minds many of us are either currently thinking about transition or worrying that it will come when we aren’t really ready for it. The USO Pathfinder Transition Program looks to smooth things over for transitioning families by providing a bevy of tools.

The most wild thing about these seven awesome tools is that they aren’t even nearly all of what the USO has for military families and service members. Thank you, USO, for everything you and your volunteers have done to support all of us.

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