As tensions have steadily increased in Turkey, life for our service members stationed at Incirlik Air Base changed drastically. But the USO is committed to providing them our trademark support, no matter what.
Less than 100 miles from the Syrian border, these men and women finished their work days and went home to family and pets – until the security situation forced the Defense Department to order all military dependents evacuated. In less than three days, “home” was further away than ever and saying goodnight or helping with homework became infinitely more difficult.
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U.S. military realized this and turned to the USO with a request to provide service members with our trademark support — connection to family, home and country, Walter Murren, USO Europe’s regional vice president, said. The USO answered this call and is in the process of building out a 1,500-square-foot USO center, complete with an internet café full of computers and phones.
“The USO we’re planning will connect all assigned or deployed [personnel] with their families,” Murren said, adding it will also offer all the traditional amenities USO centers are famous for, including American TV carrying sports and HD programming. “Periodically, we’ll hold traditional American cookouts and other holiday and special programs that clearly demonstrate to our military and their counterparts, that the American people truly respect their efforts to bring freedom to the oppressed.”
In spite of a recent failed coup attempt by a faction of Turkey’s military, that temporarily shut down Incirlik Air Base, the construction of the USO center is ongoing, and the opening is still scheduled for September 1. The unrest only reinforces the reality of what our service men and women are up against as tensions in that region continue to increase. It also drives home just how much they need the USO to keep them connected to home.
The leadership of the 39th Air Base Wing has paved the way, offering the space, but it still needs all of the things that will transform it from a big, open room into a USO that’s a home away from home. This is achievable, but it will take the effort and support of The Force Behind the Forces.
You can send a message of support and thanks directly to service members via the USO’s Campaign to Connect. Your messages will appear on screens at USO locations around the world.