Get to Know the USO with 9 Fast Facts
As Veterans Day approaches, you’ll probably hear more about the USO in the news than you do at other times of year. To many Americans, the USO is best known for sending comedians, musicians and pro athletes across the globe to entertain American troops deployed overseas. But service members and their families know the USO also provides center activities and services plus highly valued programs at home and abroad. In operation for nearly 75 years, the USO is the only private, nonprofit organization that serves the men and women in the U.S. military and their families throughout their service – from the moment they join, through their deployments and as they transition back to their communities.
Here are 8 fast facts about the USO’s accomplishments and the scope of its mission:
- There are over 3.6 million men and women serving in the U.S. military, more than 1.3 of whom are on active duty.
- There are over 2.9 million military family members, including over 1.8 million military children – more than a third of whom are 5 years old or younger.
- The USO has more than 160 locations around the world, including four centers in Afghanistan that collectively receive more than 25,000 visits each month.
- U.S. troops and their families visit USO centers more than 7 million times a year.
- In 2014 nearly 30,000 people volunteered for the USO, giving more than 1.4 million hours of their time.
- The USO deployed 93 celebrity entertainers in 2014 to 17 countries and 33 states, entertaining over 270,000 service members and their families. Nine of the 54 tours with celebrity entertainers went to combat zones.
- To date, the USO has given out 3.2 million prepaid international calling cards to troops around the world to call home.
- Since launching Special Delivery in August 2013, the program has supported more than 1,100 military spouses and expectant active-duty mothers. Twelve Special Delivery events are planned for 2015 and will support expecting mothers in the U.S., Pacific and Europe.
- The USO has provided support to U.S. military service members and their families since 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt merged several disparate groups to create the United Service Organizations.