By Sandi Gohn
Editor’s note: The final update to this story was Dec. 28 at 10 a.m.
Christmas Eve started off with an unwelcome change of plans for many military families living at Camp Pendleton, California.
Early the morning of Dec. 24, local Camp Pendleton firefighters, in cooperation with CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire and the U.S. Forest Service, responded to a blaze on the large military installation.
The fire started the prior evening and quickly grew to 3500 acres, fueled by the perfect storm of wind and optimal terrain. As a result of the massive blaze, several Camp Pendleton housing communities were temporarily evacuated. The fire has since been contained, and no personnel or structures were harmed due to the blaze.
Early on Dec. 24, as military families evacuated and service members worked to respond to the blaze, the USO was there to support them, too.
The USO Supports Evacuating Military Families and Camp Pendleton Community
The military is trained to respond to various emergencies, including natural disasters like wildfires. These dedicated service members are prepared to do the work, but responding to catastrophic events, like the fires, can be physically and emotionally taxing—especially during the holiday season and when it forces many of their own loved ones from their homes.
That’s why the USO is also always prepared to support them, no matter their mission.
Early on Christmas Eve, the USO Camp Pendleton team got the call to help support military families that were unexpectedly forced from their homes on Christmas Eve.
The USO Camp Pendleton team sprang into action and quickly pivoted to provided snacks, water and other items to keep military families fueled and hydrated at this time of uncertainty.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done today,” wrote one grateful member of the military community on USO Camp Pendleton’s Facebook page. “It’s been an amazing help to keep my kiddos positive.”
“Thank you, USO Camp Pendleton,” wrote another community member on Facebook. “After being in the car for 7 hours, your breakfast was so greatly appreciated!”
After a day filled with uncertainty, military families were allowed to return to their homes in the evening, once the fire no longer posed a threat to the housing areas on base.
-Sydney Johnson contributed to this report.
More Stories Like This
From the Front Lines of COVID-19 to the Wake of Hurricane Laura, the Mobile USO Team Hit the Road in 2020
Every year, the Mobile USO team travels far and wide to serve the expeditionary military population, and 2020 was no exception. From the plains of the Midwest, to the wilderness of central Alaska, Mobile USO vehicles traveled to 49 locations this year in the U.S. alone.
24 Hours Around the World with the USO
Find out what it’s like at USO centers around the world over the course of 24 hours – from Hawaii to Iraq, these centers are supporting service members and their families despite COVID-19 challenges.
More from the USO
Jan 17, 2021
Giving Back to Their Communities Through the USO: Volunteer Stories of Service
In every moment they dedicate to the USO, the organization’s roughly 30,000 volunteers embody the ideals of service, selflessness and community improvement. Get to know a group of stand-out volunteers who've gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Jan 14, 2021
Ahead of the Inauguration, National Guard Troops in D.C. Can Lean on USO
As members of the National Guard answer the call of duty in our nation’s capital in the coming days for the 59th presidential inauguration, the USO is there to strengthen and support them as they carry out their mission.