USO opens new theater for servicemembers in Iraq
September 8, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq -- The Joint Base Balad, Iraq, branch of the United Service Organizations opened its doors as the first USO in Iraq, February 2008, and continued this legacy Sept. 1, by being the first USO in Iraq to feature a movie theater.
Eugenio A. Oliva, a duty manager for the USO, said the theater features a 94-inch screen, surround-sound speakers and theater-style seating, able to accommodate 25 servicemembers at a time.
Maj. Brian H. Nomi, chief of client services at the consolidated legal center for the 304th Sustainment Brigade, attended the theater's opening night.
"The new theater is the best that I have seen so far in Iraq," said Nomi. "It's got great digital sound, crystal-clear picture and there aren't any bats flying across the screen."
"The theater equipment was made possible by donations from the folks back home," said Teresa Cherry, the JBB USO director.
The theater is available the same hours as the USO, so servicemembers can watch whatever they want, said Cherry. At 8 p.m., however, the scheduled movie of the day is shown.
"There will be a different themed movie each night of the week," said Cherry.
Reservations and group or unit functions are allowed, as long as they do not interfere with the scheduled movie, said Oliva.
The theater opening is one step in a complete USO renovation project that began Feb. 24 and is scheduled for completion in November, said Cherry. The completed facility will include two video-game rooms - equipped with Xbox 360s, Nintendo Wiis, and PlayStation 3s - the theater and a lounge, in addition to the services already available, said Oliva.