USO Visits Sinai Soldiers
Story by Staff Sgt. Jarred Woods
SOUTH CAMP, South Sinai, Egypt—U.S. Army Soldiers with Task Force Sinai (TFS) recently participated in various events hosted by the United Service Organizations (USO) both at South and North Camp.
Over the course of a week, representatives with the USO conducted several events to include bingo, power lifting competitions and a trivia night. The USO also led a service where Soldiers record themselves reading a book, with the USO mailing a copy of the book so their child at home can read along.
“It’s been good to get here and get eyes on the sight, know what you want to do, what you’re missing,” said Holly Coffer, a Reginal Expeditionary Operations Manager with USO.
Like other remote locations, Soldiers in TFS can be far removed from amenities and services often provided on larger U.S. bases in the region.
“We’ve had a couple comments here like, ‘thank you for being here, we feel like we’re forgotten,’ and we don’t want anyone to feel forgotten. It’s nice to finally get here because we haven’t been able to get here before.”
This was the first known instance of the USO visiting the Sinai, and with the success of their events, TFS Soldiers can expect more in the future.
“The ability to have them [USO personnel] on ground is pretty important,” said Capt. Nathan Wagner, Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, TFS.
“Now they can understand what facilities and capabilities we have, in order to tailor the programing to our needs – especially given some of the cultural differences between North and South Camp.
“The programs were pretty well received. In South Camp there was a good turnout for the bingo and trivia nights, and at North Camp there was a lot of participation in the powerlifting competition.
Having examined the available activities and looking at ways to improve unit morale, TFS reached out to the USO late last year, said Wagner.
“Historically, the USO has always been a great resource for morale and recreation programs and getting those out to different places to Soldiers overseas,” Wagner said.
“We are already looking at more events in the future with additional activities, and hope to have the USO come out at least three to four times a year.”
For more information on how the USO can benefit your organization, please visit www.uso.org.