For this weeks edition of Married to the Military Monday, I am going to tell you about the USO. I have mentioned the USO in previous posts, but have never actually explained who they are, and what they do. The USO stands for United Service Organizations, Inc. They are a non-profit organization. They provide several recreational services to the U.S. military and have programs in over 100 centers worldwide.The USO was founded in 1941 in response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide morale and recreation services to U.S. uniformed military personnel. Since 1941, the USO has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD).They get most of their funding from private contributions, and the DOD, who provides funds and services. They are not considered as a government agency.
In World War II the USO became like a home to the G.I.'s. That is where the troops were entertained, and where they relaxed. The USO club was a place to go for dances and social events, for movies and music, for a quiet place to talk or write a letter home, or for a free cup of coffee and an egg. Although the USO still continues the tradition of entertaining the troops, some of the forms of entertainment have changed, and some have been added over the years.
Forming the USO was one of the many ways the nation had come together to support the war effort. It was disbanded in 1947, and revived in 1950 for the Korean War. After that, it also provided peacetime services. Sometimes, during the Vietnam war, the USOs were located in combat zones.
The USO became famous for its live performances. They were called Camp Shows. The entertainment industry helped boost the morale of its servicemen. The USO also brought Hollywood celebrities and volunteer entertainers to perform for the troops. Hollywood really wanted to show its patriotism, and a lot of big names joined in to be USO entertainers. They entertained in military bases both at home and overseas, often placing their own lives in danger by traveling or performing under hazardous conditions.
The USO has over 160 locations around the world in 11 countries (including the U.S.) and 23 states.