[caption id=“attachment_2503” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan - Sergeant Mark Matice, a utilities NCO with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, and Lance Cpl. Rory MacEachern (right), a military policeman with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), perform a bagpipe rendition of 'Amazing Grace' prior to Toby Keith taking the stage here May 5. (Photo by Sgt. Justin Shemanski)”][/caption]
At the hot, dusty base in Afghanistan known as Camp Leatherneck, there wasn’t much to do during Troop’s downtime. The surrounding Helmand Province is inhospitable territory, and the 60,000 Marines and Soldiers stationed there needed a break from the intensity of their work. Enter the USO.
We identified the needs for Camp Leatherneck and quickly went into action providing the comforts of home and much needed programs and entertainment. Although it’s not an official USO Center, we’re providing USO support and goodness at this established Army facility in the form of comfortable furniture, games, TVs, and more. Plus, Toby Keith even visited on his last USO tour in the Persian Gulf!
To kick off the introduction of the USO’s presence at the camp, we sponsored a run with t-shirts for all participants (shown at right). Then we threw a huge BBQ for Marines and Soldiers, followed by a ceremony for the official building dedication. We capped the day’s events with a unique talent show showcasing the diverse skills of the Troops: one act featured a mime, another a bagpipe player. There were also two comedians, break dancers, an actress, musicians from a Marine Corps Band, and many talented singers. What a group!
[caption id=“attachment_2505” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“New USO programs and services are now being offered in an existing Army facility at Camp Leatherneck. (USO photo by LTC Tom Rivard)”][/caption]
We’re thrilled to be able to support the men and women stationed at Camp Leatherneck in this innovative way and will continue to look for new ways to bring the USO goodness to COB’s and FOB’s, as well as other locations around the world not currently served by a full-scale USO Center. We’d like to thank the Army for establishing and managing the facility, and thank all of the Troops who are stationed there.
Earlier this year, National Geographic featured Camp Leatherneck for its “Explorer” television series. The snippet below offers a brief glimpse into what life is like there. Hopefully, we’ll continue to make it a little better…
More from the USO
May 25, 2017
NBC's 'This Is Us' Cast Visits Service Members and Military Families on USO Tour at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
It was a morning to remember. A group of stars from NBC’s “This Is Us” – Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Sullivan – spent a morning visiting service members and their families at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst as part of a USO entertainment tour.
May 24, 2017
After Struggling to Find His Place in the World, Marine Finds Two Families – and His Place in Both
Deron Johnson didn't plan on joining the military, but he ended up a Marine. He also didn't anticipate becoming a fraternity brother at Texas A&M, but then came Theta Chi and its history of supporting the military - and the USO.
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USO Operation Birthday Cake Brings the Party to Service Members in Japan
When Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey Lee received an urgent call to head to his work station one morning, he thought there was something seriously wrong, but there was no emergency. Instead, he walked into his own surprise birthday celebration, courtesy of his wife, USO Yokosuka and the Operation Birthday Cake Program.