History header


Supporting America’s troops was the first mission of the USO. In 1941, as it became clear that the nation was heading into World War II, several organizations mobilized to support the growing U.S. military: 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.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created synergy among these agencies by forming the United Service Organizations, with the objective of providing the emotional support the troops needed.

Over time, the USO has evolved, developing new programs and services to meet the ever-changing needs of the troops and their families, while holding fast to the original mission.

Today, the USO continues to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families, and will continue to be there for them until every one comes home.


October 30, 1941
USO Camp Shows, Inc. is established to provide entertainment to troops around the world.

December 31, 1947
All USO clubs and facilities are closed, and the organization is given an honorable discharge by President Harry S. Truman.


January 1951
The USO is reactivated for the Korean War under a Memorandum of Understanding between the president and the Department of Defense.


December 1964
Bob Hope makes his first Christmas Tour to Vietnam.


June 1972
All USO clubs in Vietnam are closed as American troops withdraw.

December 20, 1979
President Jimmy Carter signs the USO's newly granted congressional charter.


The USO's Women's Resource Center opens in Baumholder, Germany – a prototype for other USOs.


USO entertainers are sent to Somalia to perform for troops stationed in the area.


Operation USO Care Package is created by USO of Metropolitan Washington for troops deploying to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

USO Operation Phone home is launched, proving free, international phone cards to service members.

November 7, 2006
The Operation USO Care Package program assembles its 1 millionth care package for troops deployed overseas.

October 21, 2008
The USO opens a new center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the first center dedicated to wounded warriors.

The USO delivered its first 'USO in a Box' units to forward operating based in Afghanistan and Djibouti.

Two hundred USO2GO kits are delivered to remotely deployed troops.

Two USO centers at Dover are renovated to support military mortuary employees, volunteers and the families of the fallen.

Move the slider bar to view USO's rich history.

More Ways to Follow