United Service Organizations

United Service Organizations

:"USO" redirects here, for other uses see USO (disambiguation)"

The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military worldwide.

The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.


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. This request led six civilian agencies—the Salvation Army, YMCA, YWCA, NCCS, NTAA and the NJWB—to unite in support of the U.S. troops. The USO was incorporated in New York February 4, 1941.

USO centers and clubs opened around the world as a “Home Away from Home” for GIs. The local USO 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. The USO also brought Hollywood celebrities and volunteer entertainers to perform for the troops.

At its high point in 1944, the USO had more than 3,000 clubs, and curtains were rising on USO shows 700 times a day. From 1941 to 1947, the USO presented more than 400,000 performances, featuring entertainers such as Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Hattie McDaniel, Ann Sheridan, Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, James Cagney, James Stewart, Gary Cooper, Danny Kaye, The Rockettes, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire, Curly Joe DeRita,The Andrews Sisters, Joe E. Brown, Lucille Ball, Glenn Miller, Martha Raye, Mickey Rooney, Betty Hutton, Dinah Shore, and most famously, Bob Hope.In 1950, when the United States entered the Korean War, the USO brought its services and entertainment tours, including Errol Flynn, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, Piper Laurie, Jane Russell, Paul Douglas, Terry Moore, Marilyn Monroe, and Al Jolson to entertain troops, with Jolson being the first to volunteer and travel to Korea [Akst, Harry [http://jolsonville.com/articles/korean-war-tours/first-stop-tokyo/ | "The Jolson Nobody Knew", "Cosmopolitan", January, 1951] (he was also the first to entertain troops during World War II.) [Woolf, S.J. [http://jolsonville.com/articles/world-war-ii-tours/army-minstrel-1942/ | "Army Minstrel", "New York Times", Sept. 27, 1942] This effort continued after the war ended, and the USO expanded to serve the more than one million U.S. troops who remained stationed overseas. During the 1960s, as tensions escalated in Vietnam, the USO began to open centers in combat zones. The 23 centers in Vietnam and Thailand served as many as a million service members a month, and the USO presented more than 5,000 performances during the Vietnam War featuring stars such as John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Sammy Davis Jr., Phyllis Diller, Martha Raye, Joey Heatherton, Wayne Newton, Jayne Mansfield, Redd Foxx, Rosey Grier, Anita Bryant, Nancy Sinatra, Jimmy Boyd, Lola Falana, and (of course) Bob Hope. In addition, the USO operates centers at major U.S. airports to provide a lounge and place to sleep for American servicemen between their flights.

To support troops participating in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, USO centers opened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. USO centers number more than 130 around the world. Recently, the USO opened the Rocky Mountain USO Center at Denver International Airport, a third center in Kuwait and its first center in Iraq at Balad Air Base. The USO provides a variety of programs and services, including orientation programs, family events, travel assistance, free Internet and e-mail access, and recreation services. A new program called "USO in a Box," delivers program materials ranging from DVD players and videos to musical instruments to remote forward operating bases in Afghanistan and Iraq

U.S. military personnel and their families visit USO centers more than five million times each year.

A nonprofit, charitable organization, the USO receives donations from private citizens, foundations, organizations and corporations. As of April 2008, some schools across the United States are donating money to the United Services Organization as a school program.


Sloan D. Gibson became the 22nd USO President on September 1, 2008, succeeding Edward A. Powell. The USO has a paid staff of approximately 240. Additionally, more than 30,000 USO volunteers provide an estimated 371,417 hours of service annually. As reported by the USO, the unpaid volunteer to paid employee ratio overseas is 20 to 1. Within the United States, the number is "significantly higher".

The following information is based on USO's audited financial statementsFact|date=December 2007 for the year ended December 31, 2006:

In 1943, a United States Liberty ship named the SS "U.S.O. was launched. She was scrapped in 1967.


In December 2003, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a 40-page study which reported that the USO spent approximately $433,000 of government funds for luxury expenses, including 50 business and first-class tickets worth about $76,000, limousine services and airport lounge costs of $3,054, alcohol, and $343,910 in various unsupported production support items and celebrity honorarium payments from 2000 through 2002. One example cited was the reimbursement of one unnamed celebrity $27,000, as well as a payment of $56,520 to an unnamed production tour manager, both without supporting documentation.

In a public response to the GAO report and a subsequent "Los Angeles Times" article, the USO blamed the run-ups on inexperienced employees and poor bookkeeping, ultimately realigning the entertainment accounting function to full-time staff in their financial management office. They also reiterated the GAO report finding that there was no improper behavior on the part of any of the entertainers involved with the tours cited in the GAO report and no evidence of malfeasance on the part of any employees.

Notable modern entertainers

The following is a partial list of USO performers, since 2001.

*50 Cent
*Trace Adkins
*Ben Affleck
*Criss Angel
*Carmelo Anthony
*Lance Armstrong
*Tichina Arnold
*Tom Arnold
*Asia featuring John Payne
*Dave Attell
*Steve Azar
*Charles Barkley
*Rick Barry
*Bobby Bell
*The Bellamy Brothers
*Jay Bilas
*Jack Black
*Lewis Black
*Todd Blackledge
*Josh Blue
*Drew Brees
*Brooks & Dunn
*Michael Buffer
*Hilarie Burton
*Tracy Byrd
*Steve Byrne
*Jim Calhoun
*Bryan Callen
*Drew Carey
*Cedric the Entertainer
*Louis C.K.
*Blake Clark
*Kelly Clarkson
*Ellen Cleghorne
*Tara Conner - Miss USA 2006
*Dane Cook
*Chelsea Cooley - Miss USA 2005
*Bradley Cooper
*Brad Cotter
*Bucky Covington
*Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
*Terry Crews
*Alge Crumpler
*Charlie Daniels
*Keith David
*Bill Dawes
*Diana DeGarmo
*Gary Dell'Abate
*Michael DeLorenzo
*Robert De Niro
*Diamond Rio
*Nick DiPaolo
*Robert Downey Jr.
*Drowning Pool
*Donnie Edwards
*Carmen Electra
*John Elway
*Ty England
*Bill Engvall
*Dennis Farina
*David Faustino
*Craig Ferguson
*Fighting Gravity
*Five for Fighting
*Jim Florentine
*Al Franken
*Morgan Freeman
*Brad Garrett
*Roger Goodell
*Mark Gottfried
*Josh Gracin
*Roy Green
*Tom Green
*Lee Greenwood
*David Alan Grier
*Kathy Griffin
*Merle Haggard
*Donnie Hammond
*Tim Hardaway
*Dennis Haysbert
*John Heffron
*Shelley Hennig, Miss Teen USA 2004
*Taylor Hicks
*Karl Hobbs
*Lou Holtz
*Hootie & the Blowfish
*Traylor Howard
*D.L. Hughley
*Chris Isaak
*Frankie J
*Kenny Jackson
*Joan Jett
*Scarlett Johansson
*Warren Johnson
*Jonas Brothers
*Wynonna Judd
*Stacy Keibler
*Toby Keith
*Jerry Kelly
*Jamie Kennedy
*Don King
*Kathy Kinney
*Johnny Knoxville
*Nick Lachey
*Lisa Lampanelli
*Billy Lane
*Artie Lange
*Larry the Cable Guy
*Steve Lavin
*Danni Leigh
*Jack Lengyel
*Jay Leno
*Sugar Ray Leonard
*David Letterman
*Mallory Lewis
*Frank Lickliter
*Rich Little
*Jennifer Lopez
*Bobby Lutz
*Eric Mabius
*La Mafia
*Max Martini
*Danny Manning
*Master P
*Neal McCoy
*Michael McCrary
*Michael McDonald
*Brian McKnight
*Carlos Mencia
*Maria Menounos
*Jo Dee Messina
*Joe Mickles
*Alyssa Milano
*Les Miles
*Lil' Mo
*The Monkees
*Montgomery Gentry
*Jay Mohr
*Craig Morgan
*Brittany Murphy
*Willie Nelson
*Wayne Newton
*Marisol Nichols
*Chuck Norris
*Ted Nugent
*Oak Ridge Boys
*Conan O'Brien
*Dave Odom
*Kaitlin Olson
*Jamie O'Neal
*Shaquille O'Neal
*James Otto
*Tito Ortiz
*Vincent Pastore
*Robert Patrick
*Corey Pavin
*Chris Paul
*Russell Peters
*Regis Philbin
*Kellie Pickler
*Rachel Proctor
*Powerman 5000
*DJ Qualls
*Shelton Quarles
*Rascal Flatts
*Restless Heart
*James Reynolds
*Rob Riggle
*Kid Rock
*Henry Rollins
*Jeffrey Ross
*Brandon Routh
*Ja Rule
*Kelvin Sampson
*Sawyer Brown
*Seann William Scott
*Dax Shepard
*Will Shields
*Gene Simmons
*Jessica Simpson
*Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band
*Tony Sirico
*Rachel Smith - Miss USA 2007
*Ben Stiller
*Stu Stone
*Marshall R. Teague
*Third Day
*Keni Thomas
*Aaron Tippin
*Christopher Titus
*Alex Trebek
*Danny Trejo
*Travis Tritt
*Leeann Tweeden
*Ronan Tynan
*Osi Umenyiora
*Carrie Underwood
*Wilmer Valderrama
*Kiki Vandeweghe
*Jacque Vaughn
*Vince Vaughn
*Milo Ventimiglia
*Mayra Verónica
*Mike Vogel
*Paul Wall
*Michael Warren
*Benjamin Watson
*Mark Wills
*Montel Williams
*Robin Williams
*Tyler James Williams
*Bruce Willis
*Bobby Wilson
*Chely Wright
*Lee Ann Womack
*Darryl Worley
*WWE Superstars
*Elliott Yamin
*Dwight Yoakam
*Nora Zehetner

ee also

*Armed Forces Entertainment
*Gents Without Cents a Three Stooges spoof of performers at a USO show for shipyard workers.


External links

*Official web site: [http://www.uso.org/ USO Home]
*Official web site: [http://www.usosandiego.org/ USO of San Diego]
*Official web site: [http://www.usony.org/ USO of Metropolitan New York]
*Other web site: [http://usoclubs.blogspot.com/ USO Clubs in World War II]

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