USO: Q&A with the Korea Director

by .
Stripes Korea

Name: Greg Phillips
Position: USO Korea Area Director
Time with USO: Six Months

Why did you join the USO? 
I retired from the Army 18.5 years ago after serving 27 years in the U.S. Army, as both an enlisted soldier and officer.  I then transitioned into the corporate world where I once again worked my way up the chain becoming the CEO for Nissan Korea and EVP for Renault Samsung Motors here in Korea.  My wife and I retired back to Myrtle Beach, S.C. in the summer of 2012. We were really enjoying retirement, but then USO reached out to see if I had interest in joining their team.  Obviously, with my service background and our success in the corporate life, both my wife thought this was a wonderful opportunity to serve once again and a chance to give back to what had made us successful – the military.  We feel Blessed, Honored and Humbled with this opportunity to serve once again.  Also, being able to come back to live and work in Korea is a blessing as I have lived and worked here now for close to 25 years of my life. My wife, Min Jeong, is from Seoul, so we get to spend time with Min’s family and all our friends.   

What makes the USO so special? 
Such a unique mission: The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.  Again, what an honor it is to provide selfless service to America’s finest.  I usually tell people when I first meet them that I have the best job in the world – I am in charge of smiles.  We provide that home away from home for many here in Korea.  It is such a unique job to sit in our USO Centers throughout Korea visiting and getting to know our young service members.  Our managers and staff know well that this is most of these young folks first time away from home, serving abroad – Ready to Fight Tonight here in defense of Korea.  Coming into our Centers provides them with a piece of what they left behind while they are deployed here in Korea.  

What’s the USO’s target audience? 
Our service members and their family’s stationed here in Korea.  We run weekly programs in each of our five Centers that support unique activities, from a free breakfast, brunch and lunch, to cultural tours and many other special fun events.  A place that you can gather and make new friends and meet many new people.  

What are some of goals you have as the USO director in Korea? 
Our biggest challenge in Korea today is aligning ourselves with USFK. The base closures and realignment is taking place here over the next several years and we want to be located downtown (that special place on base with the majority of troops live) to provide our services to our guests.  The USO is expanding many of our roles today into other aspects to further assist our young service members. One of the newest and neatest is helping them to transition out of the service – our new program is called Transition 360 Alliance.  So today, I spend a large part of time securing the commands assistance in finding the right location for our future centers and focusing on the integration of our new exciting programs that the USO has to offer.  I feel that we are truly valuable to to our military communities in assisting them in many aspects of their daily life here in Korea.

Where to do you see the USO in another 25 years? 
Wow, I would hope that there would be no conflicts and world peace by then.  But unfortunately, history has proven that won’t happen or be the case.  I would expect that the USO will still be serving alongside  service members wherever the trumpet may sound out in Freedom’s Frontier.  This is our 75th Anniversary – on our 100th Birthday, I foresee us still providing these corps value added services to our service members and their families.  It truly is a job of love and giving back. We are blessed at USO Korea with young managers and staff that are committed to selfless service to all those serving here in Korea today.

USO Korea Upcoming Events

USO 75th Anniversary Parties

  • USO Seoul: February 4 at 1100
  • USO Humphreys: February 4 at 1130
  • OSAN USO: February 4 from 1100 to 1300
  • Uso Camp Walker: February 4 from 1100 to 1300
  • Camp Casey USO: February 4 at 1400

Stronger Families Oxygen Seminars

  • Monday – February 22, 2016, Train the Trainer (TTT) USO Seoul - Camp Kim
  • Tuesday – February 23, 2016, Oxygen Couples Seminar USO Seoul - Camp Kim
  • Wednesday – February 24, 2016, Oxygen Couples Seminar Camp Humphreys
  • Thursday – February 25, 2016, Oxygen Couples Seminar Osan

45th Annual USO Six Star Salute and Gala
April 14-15, 2016

Special Delivery – What to Expect When You’re Expecting Baby Shower for Military Families
~October 15-17th, 2016

5th Annual Red, White & Blue Golf Tournament and Military Cup
Early October 2016

USFK Appreciation Day 2016
November 2016

Operation Christmas Cheer 2016
December 21-25, 2016

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