Eastern Europe: Small Gestures – and Big Breakfasts – Make All the Difference
By Daniel Drummond
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thousands of U.S. troops have been deployed throughout Eastern Europe in support of our NATO allies. As the conflict continues and tensions throughout the region rise, deployed American troops can always turn to the USO for support in countries such as Germany, Poland and Romania.
Because, thanks to the generosity of the American people, the USO is – literally – always by their side, even if that means going to conflict zones.
Here are brief snapshots from the field of life on the front lines for U.S. troops in Eastern Europe. Specific locations of these Tactical Assembly Areas (TAA) have not been identified for security purposes.
How a Hot Meal Can Make All the Difference
The 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army is one of the most storied divisions in the U.S. military. They are known for their bravery, heroism and toughness. They also have a soft spot for hot pancakes – especially when they are served up by USO staff and volunteers as the minute the division arrived at their camp.
“The first hot meal these guys had was from the USO,” said the 82nd Airborne’s Command Sgt. Major David Pitt. “They bought all the batter in town, serving 3,000 pancakes. [The service members] had a hot pancake breakfast from the USO even before they took a shower.”
With 30 years of military experience, multiple tours of duty and having led thousands of troops in combat, Pitt knows a thing or two about what it takes to maintain his soldiers’ readiness. In his opinion, the morale and resiliency provided by the USO plays a big part in that readiness.
“It’s continued support,” said Pitt. “It shows our soldiers that people care.”
Originally from the Bronx, in New York City, Pitt said that from the time they left Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, to getting into Europe, the USO has “been in lock-step with us.”
Overall, Pitt’s soldiers are holding up well thanks to the support and the close-knit community they have within the 82nd. When first arriving in Europe, many of the troops did not have phones due to security protocols, which allowed them to create more a bond among the paratroopers.
With America’s support for our troops via the USO and the strong relationships built within the ranks of the 82nd Airborne Division, morale remains high. They are prepared for whatever mission they are called upon to undertake.
More Stories Like This
Service Members Deployed to Eastern Europe Receive Support from the USO
Russia has invaded Ukraine, launching several attacks across the country with 160,000-190,000 Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. American service members have been deployed to Germany, Poland and Romania in support of our NATO allies. As the situation continues to intensify, here's how the USO stands fast in its support of the thousands of service members deployed throughout the region.
Deployed Soldier Helps Younger Brother Celebrate His Birthday via the USO’s Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program
An American soldier deployed to Poland in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is using the USO's Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to stay connected to his little brother back home.
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
Jun 1, 2023
After Super Typhoon Mawar Devastated the Island of Guam, Service Members Help the Community Recover – and the USO is There to Help Our Service Members
Super Typhoon Mawar has made landfall on the U.S. territory island of Guam, and has left devastation in its wake. As U.S. service members respond and provide natural disaster relief, the USO is right by their side, providing support along the way.
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.