Soldiers Stationed in Poland Enjoyed a Special Event With Wilmer Valderrama and the USO

By Capt. Michael Mastrangelo

The USO recently organized an event for U.S. Army V Corps soldiers in which they visited two museums and attended a dinner in the U.S. ambassador’s residence during a trip to Warsaw, Poland, on June 6, 2024. The event allowed soldiers to meet Mark Brzezinski, the U.S. ambassador to Poland, and actor Wilmer Valderrama, who serves as a USO Global Ambassador.

The USO provides service members stationed around the world with everything from basic necessities (such as toiletries and snacks), to entertainment, to a home away from home at USO Centers. One of the USO’s goals is to bridge the military community to the American public, such as through USO Entertainment events and tours, in which entertainers travel to boost the morale of the people who serve. Events like these not only raise awareness of the USO mission, but also keep service members connected to family and events back home.

Photo credit DVIDS/Staff Sgt. Jameson Harris

Wilmer Valderrama greets a soldier during the social gathering.

Capt. Trayton Hendrix, the commander of a military police unit on rotation in Poland, attended the event.

The USO has supported us in multiple capacities,” Trayton said. “They have provided us with care packages and necessities. I have a wife and daughter back home, and at times it’s easy to feel isolated. The USO support means everything knowing that we have an organization behind us.”

Wilmer Valderrama attended the event as a USO Global Ambassador to reinforce that support. During the dinner and social portion, the actor took the time to meet with soldiers, taking pictures and thanking them for their service.

Wilmer Valderrama is often best known for his roles on “NCIS” and “That 70s Show.” He participated in his first USO tour in 2007, which cemented his passion for giving back to service members, and has now enjoyed entertaining military audiences for almost 20 years.

Valderrama’s longstanding involvement with the USO demonstrates the importance of these engagements. Since his first USO tour in 2007, Valderrama has dedicated himself to supporting military personnel. He has interacted with thousands of service members while visiting various locations around the world on USO Entertainment Tours. Many of these visits have left lasting impressions on both him and the service members.

Photo credit DVIDS/Spc. Kali Ecton

Having a celebrity presence on base can boost morale among the people who serve, showing our nation’s support and carrying on a USO tradition that has been upheld since World War II.

During this particular trip, more than 50 soldiers went on guided tours of the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the New Army Museum, providing them with an opportunity to experience the city of Warsaw. Museum tours like these are designed to enrich the cultural experience of soldiers currently stationed in Poland. By visiting cultural landmarks, soldiers can better understand the country where they serve.

Staff Sgt. John Mateja, a chaplain’s assistant stationed in Poznan, participated by leading a group of soldiers on a tour through the museum.

“These trips help us reach common values with our Polish partners and strengthen the relationship with the Polish soldiers we serve alongside every day ” said John. “It’s a great way for our soldiers to do something fun and build memories and relationships.”

The USO’s mission extends far beyond entertainment; it serves as a vital support system for soldiers stationed far from home. Initiatives like the USO Global Ambassador Program raise awareness of the USO’s mission and provide service members with opportunities to meet high-profile leaders and entertainers. These interactions remind service members that their sacrifices are recognized and valued by those back home. As one soldier noted during the trip, meeting with figures like the U.S. ambassador and Valderrama provided a morale boost and reinforced the bond between the military and civilian communities.

“The USO has provided everything from the opportunity to travel and see the country we are in, to contact home consistently,” said Sgt. 1st Class Connie Huff, a finance specialist on rotation in Poznan. “Their support means a lot and a brings a little piece of home to wherever you are.”

-This story was originally published on It has been edited for

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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.


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