By Danielle DeSimone and Sandi Gohn
The COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-changing situation.
As the disease continues to spread, the military has been called to action in several ways: the National Guard is maintaining lockdown perimeters and delivering coronavirus swab tests; active duty medical units are being prepped to man field hospitals; other personnel are even preparing to work on Navy hospital ships that are deploying to the coasts of U.S. states hit hardest by the virus.
Regardless of how the U.S. military will be put to use in the coming weeks, their work will be undeniably crucial in fighting this global pandemic and ensuring the safety of Americans. That’s exactly why USO staffers across the globe have decided to bring a touch of goodness directly (and safely) to those in the fight against the disease.
Supporting the Military Medical Staff Fighting COVID-19
Unsurprisingly, many members of the military medical community are busy in their local communities helping fight the spread of COVID-19 and have little time to relax when they are not on the job. Many have been working tirelessly around the clock, having to adjust to new and ever-changing procedures and protocols to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
So, to help boost troops’ spirits during these uncertain times, the USO team in Naples, Italy, where the USO center is temporarily closed, headed to the base hospital earlier last week and dropped off breakfast treats for the medical staff who is working to keep the Naples military community healthy.
Over on Osan Air Force Base, South Korea, several service members are working at a special COVID-19 Quarantine Command Center at the base hospital. As a way to let these dedicated service members know that patriots like you are thinking about them, the USO team delivered snack packs as a tangible sign of appreciation.
Supporting Other Service Members Who Continue to Work During the Pandemic
In many U.S. military locations around the world, service members are still working their regular shifts, if not longer ones.
At Camp Casey in South Korea, dedicated U.S. and South Korean service members are working 24 hours a day at the base gates to conduct precautionary screening tests, like temperature checks. Earlier this week, the local USO team delivered these hard-working soldiers snacks, water bottles, cereal bars, donuts and drinks as a thank you for helping to keep the Camp Casey community safe and healthy.
Further south, at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, service members at the front gates also received a special USO surprise of water and cereal bars.
Over in Europe, more than 350 service members and gate guards are working in Bavaria, Germany, to conduct initial base gate screenings, support secondary screenings and man quarantine sites to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community. To help keep their energy up, the USO dropped off hundreds of surprise snacks in large, to-go boxes for them to pass along to their hard-working teammates.
A plane ride away, in Vicenza, Italy, where the USO center is temporarily closed, the USO team dropped “Beat the Boredom Bags” to soldiers around the base as a sign of appreciation for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bags contained New York sports teams’ swag, DVDs, snacks and an activity book to help them pass the time when they are off from work.
Supporting Quarantined Troops
USO teams across the globe have also been providing crucial support for troops who are, or will become, quarantined. For these troops on U.S. Army Garrison Daegu, South Korea, and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, their duty stations and deployments have become even more stressful than usual. Already far from home, these service members are now isolated from their fellow service members on base due to COVID-19.
That’s why the USO has been working closely with military commands on these bases to provide crucial support. In Afghanistan, the USO has equipped service members with televisions, electronics and USO2GO kits – essentially, a build-your-own-USO-center – to keep them entertained and connected to the outside world while quarantined.
Two weeks ago, the USO team in Camp Walker, South Korea delivered truckloads of supplies of bottled water, chips, cookies, sodas and granola bars to the on-base quarantine facility.
An ocean away, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, troops who have just returned from Afghanistan are isolating on base out of an abundance of caution. Knowing how difficult it must be to finally make it home, only to be stuck in isolation for 14 days, USO of North Carolina’s staff assembled healthy snacks, water and hygiene kits and worked with local commands to deliver the supplies to these service members in need.
These special deliveries ensure that the USO is still serving the military community affected by coronavirus, all while limiting person-to-person contact.
More Stories Like This
Military Communities Stay Connected with USO Digital Cooking Classes and Remote Food Programs During COVID-19 Pandemic
USO locations are beloved for their community-building meals, cooking classes and morale-boosting snack deliveries to our service members and military families. However, with the spread of COVID-19, USO teams have had to get creative to continue delivering these programs.
As Military Families Head Online During COVID-19 Quarantines, So Does USO Programming Around the World
Service members, military spouses and their children are often faced with uncertainty and challenging situations, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic is yet another moment that will test the resiliency of our nation’s military personnel. But they are not alone. Since World War II, the USO has always been by their side, and we will continue to be – virtually.
5 Ways the USO is Still Supporting Service Members During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Here are five ways the USO is still supporting service members on U.S. military bases during the coronavirus outbreak.
USO CEO's Response to COVID-19
For over 79 years, the USO has always been by the side of our military, from peaceful times to heightened conflicts. Yet today, we are all navigating new territory with COVID-19.
Every day, America’s service members selflessly put their lives on the line to keep us safe and free. Please take a moment to let our troops know how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.
More from the USO
May 31, 2023
USO Camp Shows, D-Day and Entertaining Troops on the European Front Lines in WWII
USO Camp Shows, Inc., a subsidiary of the USO, was tasked with providing live entertainment to troops during World War II. From the moment the U.S. entered the war — to D-Day, VE Day and beyond — USO performers gave over 420,000 performances for 130+ million service member attendees.