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USO Service Salute honors service members

Date Posted: 2008-03-07

Outstanding enlisted members from each of the four US services, together with members of the three Japanese Self Defense Forces, will be honored this month by the USO Council of Okinawa and USO Okinawa.

The USO Service salute is a big deal for the USO Council, as it brings together Okinawa’s top civic leaders and military brass to pay tribute to the efforts of enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines with a colorful ceremony and a black tie dinner at the Butler Officers’ Club. The seven enlisted personnel being honored have all been singled out for recognition by their peers and superiors.

The USO Service Salute is being supported by the Okinawa Prefecture Defense Association and affiliated organizations. Tickets are on sale for the March 22nd gala through the USO. Eight-seat sponsor tables are available for $400, six-seat sponsor tables for $300, and individual seats for the dinner and show are $60. The USO Service Salute is open to individuals and companies island-wide. Seating will be confirmed March 10th.

The United Services Organization, the USO, has been serving America’s armed forces since being formed at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. The USO merged support operations provided to military personnel by the YMCA, Salvation Army, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board. Chartered by the U.S. Congress, the USO operates as a non-profit charitable organization to provide morale, welfare and recreation activities to military personnel.

The USO’s ‘Touch of Home’ mission is worldwide, serving not only mainstream bases stateside, but in far flung outposts of combat zones that today include Iraq and Afghanistan. There are currently more than 122 centers serving GI’s around the world, including USO Centers here in Okinawa. USO Centers at Camps Hansen and Schwab, Futenma Marine Corps Air Station and Kadena Air Base offer everything from free WiFi internet service to snack bars, gift shops, libraries, TV lounges and game rooms, and a variety of monthly events.

USO Centers offer wide-screen televisions and dozens of popular videos to entertain the troops, USO Centers operate seven days a week to serve the troops, and trained USO specialists even offer a variety of classes that include karate, dance and Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.

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