Use the USO During Your Military Family's Travels!
Many of the best resources for military families are discovered through word of mouth. That was certainly true for our family and the USO.
Whenever I'd think of the USO in the past, Bob Hope came to mind. While most military are quite familiar with the USO (United Services Organization) and know of its entertaining tours around the world wherever service members are stationed, they may be like I once was and not realize they can utilize the USO centers in airports for their families or know of the other resources the organization offers for military families traveling or PCSing.
Travel Resources from Your Local USO
My first experience with a USO center was in Germany. Like most USO Centers, the center located in the terminal at Ramstein Air Base offers a comfortable place to relax, reading materials, TV, and snacks and beverages for both active duty and their families.
After living in Germany for about a year, our family made plans to travel to Rome for a trip before my husband deployed for a year. While I Googled and attemped to set up the trip myself, a friend said, “Why not use the USO?”
Huh? What could they do?
Well, a lot, as it turns out. I called the USO center in Rome who quickly and efficiently helped me book a bed and breakfast for our family of wsixithin blocks of Vatican City (At a much better price than anything I’d found on my own!), answered my myriad questions, and set up day tours and an airport shuttle for us.
Having the details arranged ahead of time made the trip so enjoyable. Our trip in Rome involved a great deal of walking, as any European tour should, and we enjoyed the air-conditioned USO center several times as a pit stop, not to mention the free cyber café and clean bathrooms.
Connect with the USO Worldwide
Since then, we’ve made it a point to find USO centers through our many moves and have visited USO centers in places as diverse as Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. One common thread is the helpful and welcoming attitude. My kids now recognize the USO sign as a friendly place they’ll be welcome!
With over 160 locations worldwide, there is likely a USO near you, and I would highly recommend you take advantage of the services they offer for military members and families traveling. In my experience, the USO more than exceeds its mission statement of “lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families.”
In addition to travel resources, the USO has numerous other programs to support the military, including:
- Military-to-civilian transition programs
- Programs for deployed troops
- Supporting children of ill or injured troops
- Partnering with TAPS to host camps for families of the fallen
- Warrior and Family Centers and USO Caregivers Conference to aid wounded and their families through the rehabilitation and transition process
- And much more!
A non-profit, congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations, and corporations to support its activities. The USO is not part of the U.S. government, but is recognized by the Department of Defense, Congress, and President of the United States as an important helping agency.
Have you visited your area USO?