By Staff Sgt. Jarred Woods
For service members stationed in remote locations, it is easy to not only feel distant, but also forgotten from loved ones and familiarity. Service members stationed in these locations may also find a morale boost and support services hard to come by. That is why, with the help of the USO expeditionary team, U.S. Army soldiers with Task Force Sinai (TFS) recently participated in various events hosted by the USO in Sinai, Egypt.
The USO expeditionary team, whose mission is to help meet the needs of service members in remote areas, recently visited soldiers stationed at both South and North Camp in Sinai, Egypt. While many service members stationed around the globe have access to a brick-and-mortar USO center on their bases, service members stationed in more isolated locations don’t always have a USO center to turn to for downtime and respite when they take a break from their everyday duties. This can make deployments all the more challenging for service members when they don’t have a comfortable, home-like setting to relax and recharge.
The USO expeditionary team spent a week hosting several events at both sites, including bingo, powerlifting competitions and a trivia night. Support like this is crucial for service members stationed in remote locations, helping them maintain high morale and building camaraderie with one another.
The USO team also helped service members stay connected to home with the USO Reading Program.The USO Reading Program gives service members stationed around the world an opportunity to stay connected to their children by letting them record themselves reading a book; the USO then sends the recording, as well as a copy of the book, to a son, daughter, sibling or any child in their life. This gives military children the chance to read along and stay connected to their service member or family member who may be thousands of miles away.
“It’s been good to get here and get eyes on the site, know what you want to do, what you’re missing,” said Holly Coffer, USO reginal expeditionary operations manager.
Like other remote locations, soldiers in TFS can be far removed from amenities and services often provided on larger U.S. bases in the region.
“We’ve had a couple comments here like, ‘thank you for being here, we feel like we’re forgotten,’ and we don’t want anyone to feel forgotten. It’s nice to finally get here because we haven’t been able to get here before,” Holly said.
This was the first known instance of the USO visiting the Sinai bases, and with the success of their events, TFS soldiers can expect more in the future.
“The ability to have [the USO] on ground is pretty important,” said Capt. Nathan Wagner, commander of headquarters and headquarters detachment, TFS. “Now they can understand what facilities and capabilities we have, in order to tailor the programing to our needs – especially given some of the cultural differences between North and South Camp.”
“The programs were pretty well received. In South Camp there was a good turnout for the bingo and trivia nights, and at North Camp there was a lot of participation in the powerlifting competition,” Nathan added. “Historically, the USO has always been a great resource for morale and recreation programs and getting those out to different places to soldiers overseas.”
“We are already looking at more events in the future with additional activities, and hope to have the USO come out at least three to four times a year.”
-This story was originally published on DVIDShub.net. It has been edited for USO.org.
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