Remodeled USO opens in Kuwait
By SFC Charles HighlandJanuary 3, 2018
CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT --The United Service Organization or USO southwest Asia has reopened its newly remodeled facility with a ribbon cutting on December 17, 2017 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Cutting the ribbon on the remodeled USO center were Area Support Group -- Kuwait commander Col. Steven Berger, South West Asia Vice President for the USO, Bruce Burda and Arifjan center manager, Tyler Krantz. This project started in January of 2017 by the former base leadership, Col. Joe Power and CSM Scott Anderson. The leadership team agreed the facility had issues and needed to do better for service members. To do this a top to bottom remodel needed to take place.
"For three years it's really been a hub for the military and a critical point for us to support the service members and their families," said Burda. "It's not only a fantastic facility but it's a great location for us to serve the service members deployed over here."
During the remodel, the USO Team members worked as hard as they could to keep services going in a much tighter and cramped building even utilizing space at the Red Cross facility in zone one. The opening provides USO a much larger facility, which has sparked more interest to service members on Camp Arifjan.
"It's been great getting back in here because it's energized my staff and the troops around us," said Krantz."For the holidays I really wanted to be in the big building, so we got our Christmas wish."
With so many troops stationed at Camp Arifjan, people also forget it is a temporary resting stop for members coming in and out of theater.
"We see thousands and thousands of soldiers that come through Camp Arifjan, the USO provides critical services to them and it's a great partner," said Berger. "We have great facilities here to help the soldiers feel at home and this is one of them."
The center features a movie theater, pool tables, ping-pong, video game room and even a charging center for those who need a little juice for their laptop or tablet. Free Wi-Fi is available to all while relaxing on the many couches. A computer lab and phone center can also give troops and easy way to connect back home.
"If they are transitioning through here it's a place they can call home and contact their families, get Wi-Fi or if they are doing military paperwork they will find CAC card readers and things they need," said Berger.
The United through Reading program is back under way in the USO in zone 6. Soldiers wanting to record a video of themselves reading a book to a loved one back home, can do so in the remodeled reading rooms. Those interested are always encouraged to donate their time and volunteer at the center.
"Our USO mission is to strengthen the US Military and their families by keeping them connected to family, home and country," said Burda. "If we can help them stay connected to be stronger in their deployment environment here or elsewhere that's success for us."