The stars shone brightly October 20, 2016, as the USO welcomed military dignitaries, national celebrities and our service members of the year to Washington, D.C.’s DAR Constitution Hall for its 2016 Gala. Celebrating 75 years of being the Force Behind the Forces – going wherever our men and women in uniform served to keep them connected to family, home and country – made this gala especially meaningful as we celebrate our diamond anniversary.

Throughout those years, our mission has not changed, which is why, earlier this year, we launched a $7.5 Million Campaign to build and renovate more than 35 locations globally: from Turkey to Guam, Oklahoma to Japan, Kuwait to Alaska. This campaign will allow the USO to provide service men and women the simple comforts of home we take for granted — a hot cup of coffee, a chance to watch their favorite teams or call their child — wherever they are.

These centers will host more than 2 million annual visits for service members. Additionally, it will allow us to reach 125,000 new service members previously without access to USO centers.

That evening, the USO honored those who, through their incredibly generous contributions to the campaign, are enabling the USO to expand its reach, providing programs to more service members and their families here and abroad. Thanks to our generous sponsors, the funds raised from our gala will go directly toward the USO’s center expansion effort.

And, as we do every year, honored and celebrated our men and women in uniform who go above and beyond their duties to make a positive impact on individuals or their communities.

Program Participants and Special Guest

Master of Ceremonies:
Ryan Seacrest,
television and radio show host/producer
Featured Entertainment:
Zac Brown Band,
USO tour veteran and three-time GRAMMY-award winning/ multi-platinum recording artist
Special Guest:
Robert Irvine,
celebrity chef, USO tour veteran and 2014-2016 USO Gala menu designer

2016 Service Members of the Year

USO Soldier of the Year
First Sergeant Melanie D. Scott
35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
Osan Air Base – Pyeongtaek, South Korea

USO Marine of the Year
Sergeant Terryn K. Thompson
Marine Air Control Squadron 4, 1st Marine Air Wing
MCAS Futenma – Okinawa, Japan

USO Sailor of the Year
Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary L. Arbuckle, Jr.

USO Airman of the Year
Staff Sergeant Jonathan R. Bellio
338th Training Squadron, 81st Training Wing
Keesler Air Force Base - Biloxi, Mississippi

USO Coast Guardsman of the Year
Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard A. Steidell
U. S. Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Florida

USO National Guardsman of the Year
Staff Sergeant Clinton E. Brown
184th Intelligence Wing
Kansas Air National Guard,
McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas.

Janice K. Emmert USO Volunteer of the Year Award

Ron Meier
Volunteer of the Year, Stateside
Bob Hope USO-Palm Springs

Ralph Nelsen
Volunteer of the Year, Overseas
USO Osan, South Korea

Gala 2016 Sponsorship

As of August 29, 2016

Chairman’s Circle

Vice Chairman


Four Star:

Procter & Gamble

Three Star:

The Coca-Cola Company
Express Scripts - Federal Pharmacy Services
NewDay USA
UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans
WLA Inc.