The USO is always by the side of our service members – including those out to sea.
The USO Europe Expeditionary Team visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush along with the embarked staff of Carrier Strike Group 10, George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, while in Souda Bay, Crete, during a scheduled port visit in October 2022.
The USO team, which travels to remote locations throughout the region, flew from Italy to join the carrier in Crete, providing a welcome presence to sailors who have been out to sea supporting U.S. Sixth Fleet. Throughout their time supporting the ship, the USO team delivered free meals to watchstanders during the port of call and added to the ship’s overall resiliency plan.
“I just want to say thank you to the USO for serving us while we serve our country and for taking so much time and dedication to fly out here to boost our morale.” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Felicity Weir. “They make a bigger difference than they could ever know.”
This is why the USO Expeditionary Team is crucial: by expanding the USO’s reach to service members who are serving in remote locations that are not close to a traditional, brick-and-mortar USO Center, the USO can help even those out to sea feel closer to home. Although something as simple as a free meal may seem small to some, for our service members, it is the thought behind the action that helps keep their morale and spirits high.
As USO Senior Area Director Sabrina Pullido and USO Senior Center Operations Manager Nick Jenkins handed out Greek meals and treats to those on duty, they were met by the smiling faces of these hard-working sailors. The USO Expeditionary Team also spoke with sailors about USO programs, events and on-going support during their service, so service members knew how they could rely on the USO in the future.
“It’s has been a true privilege for us to join the strike group in Crete and represent the immense gratitude our nation feels towards the sailors that are defending our freedom.” said Pullido. “They may not know it, but they are regarded as true heroes, and everyone back home is so proud and inspired by their service.”
Jenkins, a retired Army H-60 pilot, flew with the ship’s namesake-President George H.W. Bush during his military service. Looking back on the USO’s visit to the USS George H.W. Bush, Jenkins shared: “All it takes is a small token of appreciation to raise a service member’s mood and brighten their day, and I was proud to share in this effort during our USO outreach onboard.”
“The USO Expeditionary Team impacted our entire strike group with the reminder of our families at home caring for us while we are deployed,” said Cmdr. Doug Grace, senior chaplain assigned to USS George H.W. Bush. “We’re incredibly thankful.”
While these words of gratitude are not the reason the USO continues to carry out its mission in supporting our service members, they emphasize the importance of the USO’s mission and its positive impact on service members’ lives.
No matter where our military goes – from the front lines in the Middle East, to our NATO allies in Eastern Europe, to the wide open seas – the USO is always right there by their side.
-This story was originally published on DVIDShub.net. It has been edited for USO.org
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