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PHOTOS: USO Yokosuka Keeps Troops, Families Smiling During Hot Summer

Thursday, July 19, 2012

USO Yokosuka Center Operations Manager Jason Rouse checks in from Japan with this report on the center’s July celebrations that included Patriotic Movie Night and the Fourth Annual USO Christmas in July Pool Party, pictured below. 

Over 400 troops and their families took to the pool to cool off and relax on Saturday, July 14. USO Yokosuka provided free hot dogs, chips and drinks as well as games for the kids and tons of Christmas themed goodie bags.

Events like these have a significant impact on the families here in Yokosuka. For the service and family members that are together it gives them a fun and different way to spend the weekend; time together and time off of the ship are often hard to get. And for the families that are here with a loved one at sea, this is a great way to meet other families and find new friends.


Andrea Wagner attended the pool party with her son Alex, and had this to say: "It's always hard to be away from our friends and family, but today I got to spend time with another kind of family. The Navy family. Thanks to USO Yokosuka, the Christmas in July Pool Party was the most fun we have had in a while! Not only did we get to cool off at the pool but we got to spend time with friends and family! Meeting new people, eating good food and cooling off from the heat made this hot summer day that much nicer! Thanks, USO Yokosuka! YOU ROCK!!"


Robert Marshall and David Archer, manning the grill in style at Green Beach Pool.


Ingi Hrafnsson and his twin boys were also at the pool. I asked what he thought of the event he quickly replied, "My boys and I had a great time at the Christmas in July Pool Party. They always have fun at the pool but with the addition of free food, games and Santa Claus, they had the greatest pool trip ever!"


At this event there was a group of three toddlers with their mothers, all sitting and chatting in the water and playing. For those moments in time, they weren't alone in Japan with a baby. They had found someone else to share the experience with. Ultimately that's what I think these events are all about: bringing people together and letting them know that someone out here is thinking about them, someone out here cares and wants them to be happy and have fun.


“I've always tried to take care of people, so being in a position that lets me put on events and help out the military and families here feels pretty awesome,” Jason said. “There were two things that stood out at this pool party for me: the first was the kids getting excited when Santa came by for a visit. They dropped whatever they were doing, some climbing out of the pool and walking away from games to come over to say hello."


Jason continued: "The second was a mother sitting at the edge of the pool, getting some sun and reading a book. She'd look up every now and then, point out and count her kids in the water, then grab a sip of soda and go back to the book. From the looks of it, reading quietly wasn't something that she got to do much at home."

* The events at USO Yokosuka are more examples of how the USO lifts the spirits of troops and their families. Consider donating today to help make more of these initiatives a reality. 

* Learn more about the USO's Honor, Salute and Celebrate campaign. 

(Photos by Jason Rouse. Produced by Christian Pelusi) 


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