By Sgt. 1st Class Shane Klestinski
Since Bob Hope entertained troops fighting overseas in World War II, the USO has been a source of comfort and support for U.S. military service members far from home.
For over 80 years, the USO’s work has ranged from organizing extravagant shows in combat zones with celebrity entertainers, to providing things as simple as a safe place to nap during a layover.
The USO continued that tradition on April 25, 2021, when soldiers at Forward Operating Site (FOS) Powidz, Poland, received care packages from the USO.
The USO has been sending care packages to soldiers since its inception, and recently celebrated delivering its 3 millionth modern care package last year.
A Military Care Package and a Touch of Home
For these soldiers in Poland, these thoughtfully pre-made military care packages from the USO were a welcome delivery.
“This was a big delivery because we estimated how many USO kits we’d need for the near future,” Army 1st Lt. Henry Serrano said. “We accounted, not just for soldiers currently on the ground, but to include kits for soldiers in units that will rotate through over the next few months. We didn’t want anyone left out.”
The soldiers who received these care packages are serving in Poland in support of Atlantic Resolve, which maintains a combat-credible presence of rotating forces to ensure security throughout Europe.
Love what you’re reading? Sign up to get more USO stories!
“We received roughly 100 boxes, and each box has approximately 20 kits,” Spc. Rose Georges said.
Care package deliveries to other areas differed in size, depending on the needs of specific locations.
“The kits make for cool gifts that make deployment a little more comfortable,” Army Pvt. Randy Duong said. “It’s a nice surprise to get things you can’t always find overseas.”
Providing What Troops Really Want in Care Packages
The USO kits contained snacks and personal hygiene articles that soldiers not only recognized as “cool gifts,” but they also saw the kits’ practical uses.
“We move around a lot during day missions,” Army Pfc. Sadullo Fayz said. “These little kits are great. They come in handy because they have everything we need and they’re the perfect size to throw in a rucksack.”
In addition to snacks and hygiene gear, soldiers also received a letter in their USO delivery from Evelyn, a seventh-grader in Waterford, Michigan, who wrote:
“I’m so grateful to service men and women like you, who protect our country so we can keep living the lives we love … I will keep all of you in my prayers.”
“I always look forward to care package deliveries from the USO,” said Army Col. Ricardo Roig, the unit commander.
“This is my third deployment, and it’s nice seeing soldiers’ faces when these packages bring them a little bit of home. It means a lot for morale.”
This story originally appeared on DVIDShub.net. It has been edited for USO.org.
More Stories Like This
How to Send Care Packages to Troops with the USO
Not sure how to send a care package to the troops? Patriotic Americans can deliver care packages to service members deployed overseas through the USO.
13 Historical Photos of Sending Care Packages to Troops
Since World War II, the USO has brought a little bit of comfort and a reminder of home to our men and women in uniform serving overseas.
Service Members in East Africa Receive the 3 Millionth USO Care Package
The USO delivered the 3 millionth USO Care Package to service members deployed in East Africa.
More from the USO
Jul 12, 2019
Boot Camp, Deployments and Homecomings: How One Navy Family Leaned on the USO Every Step of the Way
From boot camp to PCS moves, deployments to homecomings, Jennifer Ohrvall, a Navy spouse and mom living at Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinois has seen it all. So what's her secret weapon to taking all the ups and downs of military life in stride? The USO.