What do Steve Martin, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Katy Perry have in common? These individuals, along with scores of others, have all given their time and talent to entertain troops as part of the USO.
Of course, the USO does far more than entertain troops. The not-for-profit organization has launched a wide range of programs to support military personnel and their families. Focusing on four key areas, the USO unites, delivers, entertains and assists with transitions, as explained below.
- Unites. The USO creates and maintains strong connections between service members and their families, no matter where they serve. It offers programs focused on connection, strengthening, wellness and resiliency.
- Delivers. The USO delivers support to service members stationed abroad who are training in isolated locations or on challenging missions in remote parts of the world. It provides care packages, snacks, holiday celebration items and internet services to help service members stay connected throughout their deployments.
- Entertains. The USO brings celebrities to entertain service members and their families around the world through a wide range of activities, like their trademark USO entertainment tours.
- Assists with transitions. The USO offers resources for service members, Veterans and military families throughout various transition points of their service.
A History of Entertainment and Service
The USO was founded in 1941, which means it turns 81 on Feb. 4, 2022. You can find members of the USO in more than 250 locations, with its employees and thousands of volunteers working hard to meet the mission of keeping service members connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.
Although it works tirelessly to support military personnel, the USO is not part of the Federal government. Instead, this congressionally chartered, private organization relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities. Its power comes from a family of volunteers that focuses on the mission of connection.
So how did it come about? Just as the United States was getting involved in World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to pull together several service associations to boost the morale of the nation’s troops and generate support for the war effort on the home front. Those organizations—the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board—together became the United Service Organizations.
Today, the USO continues the important work of supporting our nation’s military and their families, following its credo to be always by their side.
To learn more, including ways you can personally offer support, please visit the USO website.
USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.