From staff reports
The USO has entertained and served America’s military for 75 years. On Nov. 7, the American people get a chance to see what it’s like behind the curtain.
“USO – For the Troops” – an hour-long documentary produced by Partisan Pictures with exclusive support from Johnson & Johnson – will be shown on PBS stations around the United States starting Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. EDT.
Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn, the film dives into the USO’s history starting with the six service organizations that joined to create it in 1941 at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s behest to its famous wartime entertainment tours all the way to how it keeps service members connected to family, home and country today.
The film features interviews with celebrity USO tour veterans from Ann-Margret to Jon Stewart and American leaders including former President George W. Bush and retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell. Other USO tour veterans including Jay Leno, Raquel Welch, Connie Stevens, country singer Craig Morgan, NFL player Charles Tillman and Miss America are interspersed with moving first-person accounts.
“In an age in which most Americans have little idea what it actually means to serve in the armed forces, our country is at risk of losing its understanding of the intensity and horrors of being at war,” Peter Schnall, who founded Partisan Pictures and directed the film, said in a release. “By showcasing the realities of war side by side with the morale-building activities of the USO and its volunteers, we aim to bring a comprehensive view of the enduring impact of the past 75 years of the USO.”
The film also features interviews from troops and veterans, historians and USO leaders.
“From World War II and the golden age of entertainers like Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe, to today’s performers continuing to honor its mission, viewers will explore USO’s long history of providing a respite to those serving their country far from home.” said Bill Gardner, PBS’ vice president of programming and development.
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.