Today is the 74th birthday of the United Service Organization, or the USO. On Feb 4, 1941 this non-profit organization was established per a request by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families.
Their “Camp Shows”, live performances by the entertainment industry were meant to boost morale of troops stationed around the world. From Bob Hope in World War II and Marilyn Monroe in Korea to today’s headliners like Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, and Stephen Colbert in Southwest Asia, celebrities have provided temporary distractions from conflict and homesickness through music and humor to U.S. soldiers, airmen, seamen, and Marines for over seven decades.
3 Interesting Facts You May Not Know About the USO
- Troop shows are called “Camp Shows” – The first camp show occurred in October of 1941. The entertainment brought “home” to the troops and were meant to build patriotism and boost morale. They also provided dances and social events through movies and music.
- Not a Government Agency – Though this organization was chartered by Congress, it is a private organization. It relies heavily on private contributions through funds, goods, and services from various corporate and individual donors. Though the government would create the buildings, the USO would acquire private funds to carry out its mission to entertain and build the morale of the military.
- More than Just Entertainment – Though known primarily for entertaining the troops, the USO provides many other valuable services to the military.
- For Deployed Troops, the USO provides free Afghan language programs, mobile units that provide video gaming, and USO Holiday Boxes. The USO may be a quiet location to just get away to write a letter home or even provide phone services.
- For Transitioning Troops, they provide family strengthening programs to help troops transition back into the private community. They also provide job search assistance after discharge.
- For Military Families, the USO provides assistance to children dealing with particular difficulties unique to military life. They provide resources to families and children with wounded, ill, or injured service family members.
- For Wounded, Ill, Injured Service Personnel, or Families of Fallen Service Personnel, the USO provides resources for behavioral health support, reintegration into the community, and multiple services for families of the fallen.
Duotech wishes the USO a very wonderful 74th birthday! May you continue to lift the spirits of the men and women of our military for many decades to come.