The Blog

Happy 75th Anniversary USO!

To mark its 75th anniversary, the USO is inviting Americans to get reacquainted with today's USO, whose mission it to strengthen America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.
|
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

"Not by machines alone will we win this war." ... President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

President Franklin Roosevelt had a sixth sense. Instinct.

The four-term president instinctively knew that the greatest heroes of any generation -- including those soldiers who served our country during World War II (and going forward) -- deserved an organization that would "keep service members in touch with the bonds of family and the comforts of home, no matter what conditions they served."

F.D.R. challenged six private organizations -- the YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Traveler's Aid Association and the Salvation Army -- to create this yet-to-be-named non-profit morale-booster.

On Feb. 4, 1941 -- we welcomed the United Service Organizations, aka USO! For 75 years, the USO has provided programs, entertainment and services around the world. It truly is "America's vital bridge, connecting service members back to the nation and people they have signed up to serve." Today, the USO can be found in nearly 200 locations worldwide. USO centers keep the lights on in their facilities for soldiers and their families as a way of providing comfort food, help them connect with their loved ones via Internet and/or telephone, play video or board games, catch a movie, or just rest between flights.

We can't possibly thank our active-duty soldiers and veterans enough! Their dedicated service -- their sacrifices (wounded warriors deserve the Medal of Honor in every case!), their commitment to making sure ALL Americans enjoy every freedom we deserve and have come to expect -- has been taken for granted much too often!

We can spread the love. Here's what you can do ... and we know there will be no hesitation:

From the USO ... "A Campaign to Connect"

"To mark its anniversary, the USO is inviting Americans to get reacquainted with today's USO, whose mission is to strengthen America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.

This mission cannot be accomplished by the USO alone. All Americans can help their military neighbors, friends and relatives -- and service members whom they've never met -- by staying more closely connected to them as they serve the nation. The USO is dedicating itself to making those connections easier to maintain.

Launching on February 4, the USO is inviting Americans to generate one million messages of support and gratitude for our nations' 1.4 million military service members stationed around the world. You can join the USO in this movement by:

Visiting USO.org/connects -- the USO's new digital message platform -- and send as many messages as you like starting on the USO's Anniversary, February 4.

Share a personal message on your own social channels to service members and their families using #USOconnects

Help spread the word -- encourage friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to do the same!"

The USO has been providing entertainment since the early 40s for our troops. Let's go down memory lane -- beginning with the incomparable comedian Bob Hope who made his first trip into a combat area in 1943 -- and take a peek at some of the folks who gave our beloved military troops some much needed music and laughter over seven decades.

Follow USO on Twitter: @the_USO

If you would like to volunteer for the USO, go here.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Bob Hope -- 1942
USO
During the USO’s inaugural year, Bob Hope participated in numerous USO Camp Shows like this 1942 stateside performance for service members in San Diego.
Marilyn Monroe -- 1954
USO
At the beginning of the Korea War, the USO was called upon to again provide social, recreational and entertainment support for America’s servicemen and women. In 1954, the legendary Marilyn Monroe traveled to Korea to bring a touch of home to thousands of military personnel stationed in Korea.
Sammy Davis Jr. -- 1972
USO
Throughout the Vietnam conflict, USO entertainment proved to be a connection to home for service members. In 1972, iconic performer Sammy Davis Jr. traveled to Long Binh, Vietnam to deliver a nation’s gratitude.
Robin Williams -- 2002 to 2013
USO
Robin Williams was committed to making service members smile. The comic legend, who passed away in 2014, went on six USO tours between 2002 and 2013, including five overseas tours.
Peyton Manning -- 2013
USO
For nearly 50 years of its 75-year history, the USO has been proud to partner with the NFL to send renowned sports personalities on USO tours around the world. In 2013, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning embarked on his first USO tour to inspire service members deployed overseas in the Middle East.
Ann-Margret -- 1966
USO
At the height of the Vietnam War, 40 percent of America’s entire overseas forces were in Vietnam. Roughly 5,559 USO performances took place during the Vietnam wars, including this 1966 Ann-Margret performance.
Louis Armstrong -- 1989
USO
Legendary musician Louis Armstrong performed at the 1989 USO Gala.
Taraji P. Henson -- 2015
USO
Actress Taraji P. Henson of Twentieth Century FOX’s hit show "Empire" takes time out of her USO tour to Japan to show some love to sailors stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi on Dec. 15, 2015.
Jay Leno -- 1991
USO
In 1991, the USO opened three centers in Southwest Asia to support the Persian Gulf War. It was also the year that comedian Jay Leno traveled on a USO tour and entertained service men and women serving in the Gulf War.
Stephen Colbert -- 2009
USO
Gen. Ray Odierno, Commanding General, Multinational-Force-Iraq, pretends to give actor/comedian Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" a haircut during Colbert's performance for U.S. military personnel at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Sunday, June 7, 2009. Colbert is participating in a USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour to Iraq from June 5-11, 2009.
Toby Keith -- 2008
USO
In support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, the USO partnered with celebrity volunteers to send a touch of home to troops serving in remote areas of the Middle East. In 2008, Toby Keith performed an intimate acoustic piece for service members deployed to the battle front.
Nancy Sinatra -- 1967
USO
Nancy Sinatra finds the perfect dance partner when she traveled to Vietnam on a USO tour in 1967.

Before You Go

Popular in the Community