Those readers who are approaching my age probably have very fond memories of the United Service Organizations — USO for short.
The USO has been around since World War II, with a short absence between 1947 and 1950.
Its mission, “Support America’s troops.” It has done so admirably well, whether by providing comfort with a simple cup of coffee and a doughnut at some lonely airport or by flying its staff and world-class entertainers all over the world to entertain our troops at large and small military bases, at remote outposts, at home and abroad, in peacetime and in wartime.
Recently, as part of its Spring tour, the USO has been doing exactly that, “lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families” wherever our troops serve, whether under peaceful conditions or where they are in harm’s way, whether on the ground, in the air or at sea — as the images below will show.
Lead Photo:Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning congratulates U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christine Myers after she catches a pass from him aboard a C-17 Globemaster aircraft en route to Afghanistan, March 1, 2013, during the USO spring tour. U.S. Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the tour.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Donnell Coleman catches a pass from Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning aboard a C-17 Globemaster aircraft en route to Afghanistan, March 1, 2013, for the USO Spring tour.
World Series-winning pitcher Curt Schilling talks with a military family on Feb. 26, 2013, at Naval Air Facility Rota, Spain. Schilling and nine other professional athletes, American Idol performers, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and an NFL coach are traveling with Adm. Winnefeld as part of the USO Spring Troop Visit that began Feb 25, 2013. DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh
Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders Cassie Trammell, front, and Jackie Bob arrive on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 3, 2013, during the USO spring tour.
“American Idol” stars Diana Degarmo and Ace Young sing to the troops while Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Cassie Trammell dances at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, during a USO tour, March 1, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. David J. Overson
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Jackie Bob addresses sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis during the USO-sponsored tour, Feb. 28, 2013. U.S. The Stennis is conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. Navy photo by Seaman Seth Coulter.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning addresses U.S. sailors during the USO spring tour on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.
American Idol finalists Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, members of the USO spring tour, perform for U.S. sailors on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate
American Idol finalists Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young perform for Sailors of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis during a USO sponsored tour.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate)
All photos and captions: DOD
Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist