USO: "Until everybody comes home," 75 years of service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rusty Frank
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"The United Service Organizations strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation," - USO mission statement

"Not by machines alone will we win this war,"- Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States.

The winter before the Second World War, the 32nd President of the United States created an organization to serve military service members and their families.

"Just prior to the United States' involvement in WWII, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to unite several service organizations into one, to provide morale and recreation services to service members," said Kassia Reedy, Spangdahlem USO Center manager. "The six organizations were the Salvation Army, the YMCA, the YWCA, National Catholic Community Services, the National Traveler's Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board -- which explains where our name came from - USO - United Service Organizations."

According to the USO 75th Anniversary fact sheet, President Roosevelt nominated Thomas Dewey as the first chairman of the organization. He would later leave the organization to become Governor of New York. Later the president would nominate Prescott Bush (the father and grandfather of former U.S. Presidents), as the second chairman who would raise money to help make the association grow.

"Ever since the USO was first incorporated on February 4th, 1941, we have worked to support our nation's military and their families as they defend our country and its freedoms," Reedy Said. "From the old USO Clubs seven decades ago where service members could go for dances, social events, movies and music to the over 160 facilities worldwide that today provide a home away from home for our heroes, the USO is dedicated to the same mission ... supporting our military members and their families. While we no longer have dance halls, we still provide free snacks & beverages, a comfortable place to relax, and many centers have the technology to allow service members to communicate with their families no matter where they're located."

The call to serve

During World War II and conflicts that followed, the USO would continue to serve those who serve their country.

"As an employee at the Spangdahlem USO Center, it is a rewarding experience to be a part of an organization that gives back to active duty service members, deployed service members, and the Spangdahlem military community," said Kristina Robertson, Spangdahlem USO Center operation specialist.  "The Spangdahlem USO Center takes pride in providing the best services, resources, and programs to enable military members to stay connected with their families and the community. We thank our volunteers for their time and support with our center. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our center and make it possible to host so many events."

Celebrating 75 years of service

After serving military service members and their families for more than seven decades, the organization will celebrate 75 years of service on Feb. 4, 2016.

"The USO has events planned for the 75th Anniversary on a monthly basis throughout this year," said Mimi Musser, Spangdahlem USO Center programs and volunteer coordinator. "There are going to be events featuring movies of different celebrities that have contributed to USO tours in the past. These events will be held at the USO Center in building 126 room 116. As well, we will be at the Exchange to pass out cupcakes on the 4th of February from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a larger event will be held for the 75th anniversary later on from the hours of 4- 6pm at our center. We will have an ice cream social along with toppings and light refreshments. Guests are welcome to dress in 1941 fashion if they would like and have their photo taken with our photo booth props. We will have games for all ages in our center and a coloring contest for our younger children."

For photos of the grand opening of the USO at Spangdahlem Air Base click here