[caption id=“attachment_4096” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“USO SWA Regional VP Gary Bibeau, USO Board of Governors Chairman Ed Reilly, Col. Chris Gentry, BG Reynold Hoover, and USO Kandahar Center Director Larry Cooke show their excitement after cutting the ribbon during the Opening of USO Kandahar. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)”][/caption]
We’re so proud to announce the opening of our eleventh center in Southwest Asia: USO Kandahar! This 8,200 square-foot facility is expected to serve more than 35,000 troops each year on Kandahar Airfield, including those traveling to and from forward operating bases in the region. USO Kandahar is located in the Reception, Staging, Onward movement, and Integration (RSOI) compound and is open 20 hours a day.
Commander 643rd Regional Support Group, Colonel Chris R. Gentry had this to say about the opening: “The USO’s presence on KAF is a much-anticipated event. They bring a little piece of home to everyone they touch. We are very grateful for their support of all our service members and look forward to a long and successful collaboration together.”
[caption id=“attachment_4100” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“USO Kandahar Duty Manager, Duane DeVorak shoots a video about our United Through Reading program as Duty Manager Erin Mintmier explains the program to a soldier. (USO Photo by Joan Gardiner)”][/caption]
Twenty computer stations, eleven Sony PlayStation™ 3 video gaming systems, 52-inch televisions, books and a music room will entertain troops during their free time. The center also offers 18 telephones for troops to call home at no expense on the USO’s private telephone network. Troops will also be able to participate in one of the most popular programs - United Through Reading’s Military Program - which will be available in three recording rooms. All programs and services offered at USO Kandahar are free to troops.
“It is a real honor to be a part of the team to bring the first full-service USO in Afghanistan to Kandahar,“ said Larry Cooke, director, USO Kandahar. "This has been a true partnership with the US Garrison Support Group and many other units on KAF. My deep appreciation goes out to each one of them. I know this center will play a key role in the lives of our service men and women serving in this region.”
For individuals and corporations looking for more information or to make a donation, contact Larry Cooke at (202) 747-2792 or via email. And be sure to visit USO Kandahar’s Facebook page for many more photos of grand opening festivities and the new center in action!
[caption id="attachment_4097” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“USO Kandahar Duty Manager, Kevin Wells trains new volunteers during the Grand Opening of USO Kandahar, September 17, 2010. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)”][/caption]
[caption id=“attachment_4098” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“These Airmen are among the first to try out the free Segovia phones during the Grand Opening of USO Kandahar September 17, 2010. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)”][/caption]
[caption id=“attachment_4099” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“These three soldiers are the first to enjoy the Jam Session Music room at USO Kandahar during the Grand Opening September 17, 2010. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)”][/caption]
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Before 2016, the last time Army Sgt. Derek Peterson picked up a paint brush was in high school – which, he admits, was quite a few years ago. “I would like to be [considered an artist],” Peterson said. “But I hadn’t done any real art since [then].” So, when Peterson heard about the USO Southwest Asia’s two new art programs – Paint and Sip and Art on Tap -- during a recent deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to get back to his creative roots