Today we're celebrating the USO, a cornerstone of the American military community. The official United Service Organization birthday is February 4th. That said, there's no way to contain a bash to just one day. So it only makes sense the USO celebrates with a week-long celebration leading up to February 4th. Let's get this party started with a history of this non-profit.
What is the USO?
The USO is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale, welfare, and recreation-type services to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Programs and services are designed to strengthen America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the USO has over 160 locations worldwide. A paid professional staff and more than 35,000 volunteers provide its programs and services.
Six Organizations Come Together
The USO was founded in 1941 by six civilian organizations: the Salvation Army, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), the National Council of Catholic Women, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Travelers Aid Association, and the American Red Cross. These groups came together to provide morale and recreation services to members of the U.S. military.
The USO became operational just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It began providing service members with chauffeured transportation to and from train stations, bus depots, and airports. The first "USO Club" opened in Miami in February 1942. By the end of World War II, there were more than 3,000 clubs around the world.
The organization continued to grow in the years following WWII, adding new programs and services such as childcare, library services, arts and crafts classes, language courses, sing-alongs, variety shows, and much more. Today's core programming falls into four main categories: Entertainment, Family Support Services, Transition Services, and Military Youth Development.
Want to know more? Here are 7 facts about the USO you might not know!
Why is the USO important to the military community?
The military community relies on the support of organizations like the USO to help them through tough times and deployments. Whether it's providing a place for service members to relax and unwind or connecting them with their families back home, the USO has been there for our troops since 1941. It will continue to be there for many years to come.
So there you have it: everything you need to know about the United States Overseas Service Organization! The next time somebody asks you about the USO or what it does, you'll be able to rattle off all sorts of facts and information about this great organization.
Want to support this great military service organization? Here are three ways you can help.
Make a Donation
The easiest way you can help is by making a donation to the USO. Every little bit helps and goes a long way in supporting their mission to improve the lives of the military. You can make a one-time donation or sign up to be a monthly donor who provides the USO with a consistent income to help plan ahead for programs and services.
If you have some free time, consider volunteering at your local USO center. You can answer phones, take care packages, or help with special events. Get involved with your local military community! This way you'll be gibing back directly to those who serve our country. If you don't have an installation near you, explore volunteer options at airports!
Another great way to support the USO is by hosting your own military-themed fundraiser. This could be as simple as having a bake sale or car wash. You can also get creative and create your own unique fundraiser idea. All the money raised will support the USO's many programs and services.
Spread the Word
If you don't have the time to volunteer or host a fundraiser, you can still help by spreading the word about the great work the USO does for hte military. Follow them on social media and share their posts with your friends and family. The USO has been providing vital support to our troops since 1941 and they continue to do so today. There are many ways you can help support the USO. Donate your time by volunteering, hosting a fundraiser, or simply spreading the word about their great work. Whatever way you choose to help, know that you are making a difference in the lives of those who serve our country.