Dawn M. Smith
February 4th marks the 76th birthday of the United Service Organizations. The respected and well-loved charity has been comforting military members and their families for decades, but you might not know exactly what types of programs are offered or the events they plan throughout the year.
Most of us think of the USO as only a place to rest during long airline travel, but they do so much more and want servicemen and women and their families to take full advantage of the options available to them.
San Antonio is lucky to have four (!) USO outlets in the area. At minimum, each provides a restful place to relax with food and beverages available, but further amenities vary by location.
- USO San Antonio Downtown- 203 W Market Street
- San Antonio Airport- Located in baggage claim of Terminal B
- USO JBSA Located at Fort Sam Houston-Building 1395 Chaffee Road
- San Antonio MEPS-2850 Stanley Road, Fort Sam Houston Building# 2356
These locations have been responsible for fun and informative events, such as the JBSA Back to School Bash, USO C.A.M.P-Celebrating America’s Military in the Park, and Saturday Samplers where guests dine on local restaurant’s fare free of charge.
Facts to know about the USO:
- The nonprofit was chartered by Congress, but does not receive funding from the government. Donations from individuals and corporations are necessary for the the USO to operate.
- Since 1941, each U.S. President has been the Honorary Chairman of the USO.
- All USO CONUS and OCONUS events are free for U.S. military and their families with ID cards.
- There are a number of USO programs dedicated to serving several different groups: deployed service members, military families, transitioning troops, families of the fallen and wounded, and ill and injured service members.
- The USO is widely known for entertaining soldiers over the globe with comedic and musical acts.
- Holidays are especially important to the USO. They provide many programs and events to care for and connect military families.
USO volunteers are the driving force that serve military members. The USO actively recruits volunteers for any number of jobs from assisting at USO centers to hosting parties, and creating care packages for overseas soldiers. There is room for everyone to donate time and talent. Visiting the USO Volunteer Community will guide you to the necessary information.