From staff reports

From Okinawa to rural Missouri, it’s been a banner year for USO storytelling. Here are six of our (and judging by the clicks, your) favorite stories from 2015.

Volunteer Builds Makeshift Crib to Ease Family’s Travel Woes

Brooke Moore sleeps in a makeshift crib at a USO center at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in June. | Photo credit Courtesy of the Moore family

Recognizing the needs of an overwhelmed mother, quick-thinking USO volunteer Peggy Littrell fashioned a makeshift crib from two chairs she found inside the USO lounge inside Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport, facing them toward each other and lining the furniture with a blanket.

“[My husband] saw the photo it was one of the rare times I’ve seen him cry,“ said Beth Moore, the military spouse Littrell helped out.

Read the rest of his story here.

Want to bring some cheer to the deployed service members defending our freedom? Donate today.

Soldier Turns to the USO for A Crucial Assist

Army Spc. Austin Hunsinger | Photo credit Austin Hunsinger

Losing a parent can be devastating. Losing a parent while on military duty adds a new set of obstacles that can overwhelm the most prepared soldier.

In December 2012, after learning his father suddenly passed way, Army Spc. Austin Hunsinger — who was stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina — had to juggle an emergency leave request, funeral arrangements and booking last-minute flights all in a matter of hours.

When he finally arrived at the airport to go back to Rochester, New York, he was exhausted. He’d been up all night speaking with his family. So he sat down in the airport, fell asleep and missed his flight.

Read how the USO came through for him.

Photos Celebrating the USO’s 74th Birthday

In honor of the USO’s 74th birthday, we took a trip through time to revisit some of the iconic images we’ve captured. See the full set of photos here.

1/3 Photos

Marylin Monroe at a USO show in Korea in 1954.

2/3 Photos

Troops hold up a “Hi Bob” banner during one of Bob Hope’s USO shows. USO photo

3/3 Photos

Leaders from the six founding organizations of the USO shake hands in 1941. USO photo

The Stories Behind Military Challenge Coins

If you’ve been in the military for a while, you probably have a case or a rack (or a vintage sea chest) to display your coins.

Learn some of the cool stories behind the coins USO employees have picked up over the years here.

Mary E. Walker

12 Things You May Not Know About Women in the Military

Did you know that in 1779, Margaret Corbin became the first woman to receive a military pension? During the Revolutionary War, Corbin manned her husband’s canon after he was shot and killed in battle. Corbin was subsequently injured in the same battle and never fully recovered from her wounds.

Read about Corbin and more American military pacesetters here.

Meet Bandit: The Comforting Canine at USO Fort Leonard Wood

Whether he’s visiting patients at the hospital, comforting troops at the Warrior Transition Unit or hanging out with military families at USO Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Bandit is always ready to comfort those in need.