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At 75, the USO is Better than Ever

Take a look back at how the USO has connected service members to family, home and country over the last 75 years.

The USO has been connecting service members to family, home and country with an array of benefits, programs and services -- including entertainment -- for 75 years. In 2016, the USO is observing its 75th anniversary across 180 locations around the world, including the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. 

Founding of the USO

In February 1941 – 10 months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, compelling the United States to enter World War II – President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped create the United Service Organizations for National Defense, which was charged with strengthening the morale of America’s military by connecting them to their family, home and country. Although the USO provides a wide variety of benefits, programs and services to military members and their families, they are best known for the live performance shows that star popular musicians, actors and celebrities, all of whom have donated their time and talents to enhance the morale of servicemen and women across the country and abroad. 

To view a timeline that marks milestone events in the USO’s 75-year history, visit their website.

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration, the USO launched Campaign to Connect. We are joining them in their effort to send 1 million messages of support to our service members. These personal message of gratitude from the American public remind our service members that the Nation stands with them.

The USO Entertains

Since its inception, the USO has hosted a wide range of talent, including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Lopez, Robin Williams, Kid Rock, Wayne Newton and Gary Sinise, among many others. After making its debut in 2008, the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families is now the longest running tour in USO history. Dedicated to helping children and parents navigate the unique challenges of military life, the tour has completed 1,000 shows on 149 military installations. The tour has also distributed more than 2.6 million giveaways to children and their families. 

The New USO

The USO recently launched the USO Transition 360 Alliance, an initiative designed to assist the U.S. military and their families transition to civilian life. The program utilizes the global resources of the USO and partners with RP/6, Hire Heroes USA, Stronger Families and Comfort Crew for Military Kids.

On February, 5, 2016, the USO embarked on USO Route 75, a six-month long cross-country journey to mark its 75th birthday by driving around the United States and connecting America’s military and civilians “one story at a time.” You can track their progress by visiting this map or viewing their travelogue.

USO Route 75

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