USO Casey brings taste of home to deployed troops along the DMZ

by Tom Higgins
USO Casey

Deployments are never easy. Especially when on missions in remote or dangerous locations, US troops weather every burden, but yearn for a connection to home. Enter the USO. On 12 April all US military personnel training along the DMZ were treated by USO to a Morale Boosting Barbecue for more than 1,550 active duty U.S. military personnel training at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex. Military units from as far away as Hawaii, Alaska, and Okinawa were taking part in this training exercise lasting approximately 3 weeks. More than 3,300 hamburgers, 1,600 hot dogs, 3,200 bags of chips, 3,500 sodas/bottled water were transported, cooked, and served to America’s deserving warriors. Everyone enjoyed two or more hamburgers and hot dog on a bright sunny day. Major units participating in the event were the1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment/25 Infantry Division from Hawaii, Task Force Arctic with aviation units from Hawaii and Alaska, and 3-69th Armor Regiment. Additionally, USO staff and volunteers prepared and transported 500 barbecue meal packages, another training facility near the Joint Security Area (JSA), approximately 1 ½ hours away from Rodriguez Range for two companies of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, who were training on small arms weapons qualification on that day. USO Casey staff and Volunteers manned the grills from 6am to 2:30pm to make sure everyone was served!!

“Our mission at USO is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation which to us includes these times when they are training in austere remote locations,” commented Tom Higgins, USO Casey Manager. When we heard that the exercise was on, we went to Rodriguez Live Fire Complex and met with leadership and contacted USO Pacific Region Expeditionary Manager, Thomas Gadbois, who helped fund the event and flew in from Okinawa to assist in this massive effort. USO Pacific Region coordinates Expeditionary Support for units stationed off peninsula when they come to Korea to train. Expeditionary support to those training in austere, remote and isolated locations is one of many ways USO gives back to our men and women in uniform for their service to our nation.

USAG Casey Commander, LTC Brian A. Jacobs and CSM Jason Copeland, USO Korea and USO Pacific helped prepare and serve during the event. “These types of events not only contribute to Quality of Life for all service members, Army, Air Force, and Marines, training here on “Freedom’s Frontier”, but also have long lasting effect on morale of each individual service member. We are fortunate to have caring dedicated people in our Garrison willing to work and contribute to the well-being of our troops,” stated LTC Jacobs.

USO Casey, along with the USAG Casey Command Team, and volunteers from the Camp Casey community were able to order, receive, transport all supplies within six-day notice to make this event happen and everyone involved enjoyed a fantastic afternoon at the Morale Boosting Barbecue, “we just want our men and women in uniform to know, the USO will be with you everywhere and always”, said Tom Higgins.

Continuing to lift the spirits of our troops is central to the USO mission. If you are interested to learn more or assist in these efforts, please stop by your local USO and volunteer.

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