- How We Help
The USO’s tradition of supporting service members stretches back to our beginnings in 1941. In an effort to boost our military’s morale, the USO teamed with some of our country’s brightest stars to produce concerts, meet-and-greets and other interactive events for our service members at home and overseas. The USO made it possible to bring American entertainment and music to troops who longed for home, and we still do.
While the entertainment industry has changed a lot over the years, a few things have not: Today’s service men and women still long for family, home and country and they are still cheered and inspired when their personal heroes volunteer their own time to do a USO Entertainment Tour. Seeing your favorite comedian, band or athlete helps our troops and families stay connected to family, home and country – no matter where they are. USO Entertainment supports America’s service members and their families by keeping them connected to the people, places and things they love.
HOW TO TOUR:
Depending on the type of base visited, celebrities meet with servicemen and women as they conduct their base activities, visiting hospitals, sharing meals, touring military work stations and meeting senior leadership. Entertainment tours also afford celebrities the unique opportunity to share some of the military experiences alongside the service members.
USO Tour Fast Facts:
TOUR LENGTH: USO tours vary from one stop to a tour of multiple destinations. Typically, tours last 1-2 days stateside and 7-10 days overseas. The USO is flexible and willing to work with artists to develop tour dates. We can also arrange a stop within artists’ existing tour schedules.
WHERE: USO tours take place on military bases in the U.S. and abroad, including Europe, the Mediterranean, the Pacific, the Balkans, the Caribbean and the Persian Gulf. Celebrities are offered the opportunity to make separate trips solely to visit troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in the Washington, DC metropolitan area as well as at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
WHEN: The USO is flexible and willing to work with artists to develop tour dates. We also schedule tours based on guidance from the Department of Defense and requests from military bases.
Sesame Street/USO Experience:
Since 2008, the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families tour has delivered laughter to military families based stateside and around the world. The shows are dedicated to helping children and parents navigate the unique challenges of military life and the special dilemmas that sometimes require the love and support of others. Kids are able to sing, dance and clown around with their favorite characters while bringing in their moms and dads along for the fun. Since the tour’s inception, over 540,000 service members and families have attended more than 1,000 shows on 148 military installations in 33 states and 11 countries. The tour has evolved to the meet the changing needs and challenges our military families face and the 2015 edition focused on our servicemen and women’s transition to civilian life as well as the popular topic: moving. The tour is scheduled to hit the road again in 2016.
Being at home with the kids while my husband’s deployed is definitely a challenge. So it’s really cool the USO brought Elmo into Fort Benning and allowed the families to go free of charge.
– Samantha Curtis
It’s great that they support the military families like this - that’s what the whole show was about. The message was awesome: to let the little ones know that if they are moving it is not the end of the world and that no matter where they go they can make friends. It was a good message. With so many benefits on base like this, families should really take advantage of it.
– Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles Dine, MCAS Yuma
A lot of it was talking about deployment and moving away (PCS’ing) and with just getting my husband back from Afghanistan I almost cried every few minutes. I had to hold back tears and fake giggle or stuff my face full with the kids’ animal crackers to avoid bursting into a crazy fit of tears. The kids loved it, to see their TV friends in person.
– Homeschooling 3 Jedis blog, Nellis AFB
More from the USO
Nov 16, 2016
‘You Just Feel at Peace’: How USO North Carolina - Jacksonville’s Beirut Room Serves as a Space for Reflection and Healing
In light of the deep impact the 1983 Beirut bombing had on the Jacksonville community over the years, the USO center, with help from Lowe’s Home Improvement, created a special room in its center to honor the victims, survivors and family members affected by the bombing. The space – known as the “Beirut Room” by center staff and volunteers – features a granite wall monument, stained glass angels and several other photos and mementos memorializing those killed in the bombing.
Nov 16, 2016
USO Opens Wellness Focused Center on Joint Base San Antonio
After 75 years of welcoming service members home, the USO received a homecoming of its own. After a grand opening ceremony on Nov. 10, USO San Antonio staff and volunteers officially welcomed guests into the new, state-of-the-art USO San Antonio center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.