USO Support for American Troops During the War in Ukraine
The USO is committed to providing critical support to American troops responding to events in Ukraine and around the world, but we need your generosity to continue these efforts.*
The current situation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe
On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. In the months that have followed, Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused irreparable damage and casualties, threatening the stability of Europe and our NATO allies.
In response to Russia’s continued escalations, the United States Department of Defense has deployed and repositioned thousands of U.S. troops throughout Europe – including locations such as Poland, Romania and Germany – in support of our NATO allies and Ukraine. There are now approximately 100,000 American service members either deployed or permanently stationed in Europe.
Service members activated to the region are dealing with different challenges than in other recent conflicts:
- As winter approaches, service members are bracing for the frigid and harsh climate in Eastern Europe.
- To preserve operational security, many service members deployed without their cell phones or laptops, or are deployed in locations with little to no cell service or internet access – leaving them with no way of easily contacting loved ones back home.
- For the families that remain stateside, the sudden departure of their loved ones can be an intensely worrying time.
What is the USO doing to support service members in Eastern Europe?
USO staff and volunteers in the United States and Europe are working around the clock to keep our military strong, revitalized and connected to loved ones during deployments by delivering helpful resources through USO centers and programs. This includes:
- Providing Wi-Fi and call centers to keep service members connected to family, home, and country. This is particularly important for the thousands of troops in Eastern Europe who otherwise have limited access to cell phones and laptops and the internet.
- Distributing USO Care Packages, which come in two varieties: Hygiene Kits with essential toiletries and Snack Packs with food that will remind them of home. These packages ensure service members feel supported and valued by their country as well as provide them with helpful supplies on-the-go.
- Sending USO2GO and portable boxed programs to military units on the move, or in locations far from a brick-and-mortar USO center. These packages include snacks, toiletries, games and sports equipment to keep troops entertained while giving them much-needed opportunities for relaxation so they can recharge and then focus on the mission at hand.
- Providing hot meals to deployed service members.
- Giving service members a place to relax at physical USO locations throughout Europe, including a newly opened centers in Poland and unstaffed centers throughout other parts of Eastern Europe.
- Delivering thousands of blankets, beanies and hand warmers to those operating in extremely cold environments.
- Supporting military families on the home front with community-building activities, opportunities to communicate with deployed loved ones and other essential resources.
Images From the Front Lines
Deploying Service Members
Service members go wherever the call of duty takes them.
Connecting to Home
Our troops reconnect with loved ones while deployed via USO Wi-Fi and call centers.
Reading to Kids Back Home
Troops use the USO Reading Program to read bedtime stories to their children at home.
Service members unwind after a hard day’s work with USO programs and events.
Care Packages from Home
The USO delivers USO Care Packages – and, by extension, a gesture of gratitude from the American people – to deployed troops.
Hot Meals on the Front Lines
Service members enjoy a warm meal, even when thousands of miles from home.
A Place to Recharge
In austere locations like Eastern Europe, front-line USO centers provide service members with a comfortable place to relax and recharge at the end of a long shift.
Keeping Spirits High and Hands Warm
With temperatures well below freezing, troops stay warm with USO-provided blankets, hats, hand warmers and hot beverages.
Eastern Europe: Updates From the Field
Below are Reports from the field, with regular updates from USO staff and volunteers who are boots-on-the-ground in countries such as Germany, Poland, Romania and more, working in support of our nation’s military.
(Dec. 5, 2022) U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Traevon Simmons, who has been deployed to Eastern Europe since March 2022, has overcome many obstacles that go beyond his sudden deployment, and seeks to keep the spirit of himself and his local military community high through football and giving back at USO Powidz.
(Dec. 1, 2022) In the months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the stability of Europe and our NATO allies have been threatened, and thousands of American troops have been deployed to the region as a result. Here is how the USO has supported the U.S. military in Eastern Europe, and how we plan to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
(Nov. 8, 2022) In the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine, many American service members have deployed quickly to Europe in support of our NATO allies. When they find themselves in remote duty stations - from England to Poland - with very little notice, these troops know they can always count on the USO to boost morale and keep them connected to loved ones and home.
(Oct. 26, 2022) Like many deployed soldiers, U.S. Army Spc. Terrance Smith’s deployment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sometimes been difficult, with months spent apart from his family in a remote, undisclosed location in Poland. But with a little help from the USO, he’s been able to keep spirits high.
(Sept. 26, 2022) The USO is committed to supporting military spouses as they serve their country in their own way. In a small village in the United Kingdom, far from home and loved ones, military spouses know that when their service member deploys to the front lines of Eastern Europe, they can always turn to the USO and their community for support.
(June 15, 2022) U.S. Army Pfc. Brandon Gonzales shares the multi-generational story of how his father used to record himself reading books to Brandon when he was deployed to Iraq; and now, Brandon records himself reading books through the USO’s Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to stay connected to his own daughter while deployed to Eastern Europe.
(May 20, 2022) As part of a series of brief snapshots from the field, here is a glimpse into life on the front lines for U.S. troops in Eastern Europe, and how the USO is supporting them.
(May 17, 2022) As part of a series of brief snapshots from the field, here is a glimpse into life on the front lines for U.S. troops in Eastern Europe, and how the USO is supporting them.
(May 11, 2022) As part of a series of brief snapshots from the field, here is a glimpse into life on the front lines for U.S. troops in Eastern Europe, and how the USO is supporting them. Despite the hardships of this deployment, service members in Poland have bonded with each other in order to keep morale high.
(May 5, 2022) As part of a series of brief snapshots from the field, here is a glimpse into life on the front lines for U.S. troops in Eastern Europe, and how the USO is supporting them. For these deployed troops, staying connected to loved ones back home via the USO is crucial to maintaining high morale.
(April 5, 2022) An American soldier deployed to Poland in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is using the USO’s Reading Program to stay connected to his little brother back home.
(April 1, 2022) As an Army soldier is deployed to Poland in response to escalating tensions in Eastern Europe, his military spouse back home has decided to support the military by raising funds and running for Team USO in the Boston Marathon.
(March 21, 2022) An American fleeing the war in Ukraine found refuge in Germany, where she decided to give back to American service members deployed there by dedicating her time as a USO volunteer.
(March 15, 2022) For many of the service members suddenly deployed to Europe in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, talking to family is a luxury, as many were required to leave their personal cell phones and laptops behind.
(Feb 24, 2022) Russia has launched several attacks across Ukraine, and tensions along Ukraine’s border, where Russia has amassed approximately 160,000-190,000 troops and artillery, continue to rise.
(Jan 28, 2022) For service members deployed to conflict zones, the USO is always ready to provide support and a home away from home, no matter where their service takes them.
Thank you to Our Partners
Thank you to our partners for helping us keep our service members around the world connected to family, home and country.
- BAE Systems
- Biella Foundation
- David & Jean Rosenblum Charitable Fund
- Duke Energy
- First Trust Portfolios L.P.
- Giant Food
- Jean and Albert Nerken Foundation
- Jeffrey L. Seltzer
- Joseph Blady
- Juniper Networks
- Marathon Petroleum
- Mitchell and Amy Scott and Collum’s Lumber Products, LLC
- National Football League
- Raytheon I&S
- Ruth Nerken
- Safeway Eastern Division Foundation
- Semper Fi & America’s Fund
- Washington Commanders
- Wells Fargo National
*Your contribution will be joined with the contributions of others and used where it is needed most to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country. Header image: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Meleesa Gutierrez