USO Support for the Ukraine Crisis
The USO is busy providing critical support to our 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
Russia has invaded and launched several attacks across Ukraine after amassing approximately 160,000-190,000 troops and artillery along the Ukrainian border. 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:
- Amid persistent winter weather, the climate in Eastern Europe can be frigid and harsh, leaving service members chilled.
- To preserve operational security, most service members deployed without their cell phones or laptops, and now have no way of 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 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 no access to cell phones and laptops.
- 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.
- Sending USO2GO and portable boxed programs to military units on the move. 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, as well as their families at home.
- Giving service members a place to relax at physical USO locations throughout Europe, including a newly opened center in Poland and unstaffed centers in 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 Bob Hope Legacy 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 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 and Poland, working in support of our nation’s military.
(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 Bob Hope Legacy 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.
*Header image: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Meleesa Gutierrez