It’s been decades since Las Vegas enjoyed the amenities of a USO Center. All of that is about to change, as yesterday’s groundbreaking at McCarran International Airport made tangible the reality of a new USO Center, scheduled to open on Veteran’s Day this year.

“I was returning from Bosnia once, in the mid-’90s,” Col. Kevin Fox, who is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, told the Las Vegas Sun, “and there was nowhere you could go just to sit and relax, clean up, and this was after a very long trip when you’re a little rattled anyway. A lot of people don’t realize all the work the USO does – they know them mostly from the entertainment they do – but they do a lot more than even that. This is really, really important.”

[caption id=“attachment_3748” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“Congresswoman Shelley Berkley thanks our military men and women for their service to our country at the McCarran USO construction kick-off. (Photo courtesy of Shelley Berkley's Flickr stream)”][/caption]

On hand were the ceremony were a number of members of Congress, in addition to airport officials and military officials.  Wayne Newton, who deemed the new center “a joy.”  Always a big supporter of our Troops, Newton had this to say from the podium: "It’s time that we did something to thank our military people for the lifestyle that we have.“

A product of bi-partisan support, this center will occupy an area formerly home to US Airway’s lounge on the second concourse above the baggage claim.  The Clark County Aviation Department paid to relocate US Airway’s lounge.  Matching private funds have also supported the effort, and Clark county is leasing the space to the USO at no cost for up to five years.  See more video at

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.964198&w=425&h=350&fv=playerWidth%3D300%26playerHeight%3D240%26affiliateNumber%3D501%26playButtonText%3D%26pauseButtonText%3D%26sum]