FORT GORDON, Ga. -- After her 3 year-old nephew didn't recognize her over the summer, Spc. Catawaba Hughes wanted to shorten the distance between them so she visited the Mobile United Service Organization Oct. 14 to make a recording of her reading a book.
"We were estranged because of the separation in the military. He's always been connected to me. This is a vital tool to staying in touch. It's very important," said Hughes, who read stories for Delvin Williams, 3, and his brother, Antwan Williams, 9. The stories will be put on DVD and mailed along with the books and a note to them to their Miami home as part of the United Through Reading program.
The Mobile USO made its first-ever visit to Fort Gordon on Oct. 13-14 building the morale of Soldiers, mainly the members of the Warrior Transition Battalion. The recreational vehicle was parked in the lot near the WTB barracks.
"Wounded Warriors are a priority for us this year," said Tisha Sweeney, East Coast Mobile USO manager. "This is a great way for us to engage them."
Soldiers could partake of free snacks and soft drinks as well as spend some time aboard the vehicle playing video games, watching television or recording messages to family members.
The Mobile USO also has a library for Soldiers and free wireless internet.
The unit is just one of the outreach programs the USO offers to military service members of all branches. Its service to troops dates back to before the United States' involvement in World War II when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt started the "effort to establish a bridge back home for the U.S. troops stationed around the world," according to a brochure from the USO.
The USO is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization, sustained by private donations.
Many people think of the USO as providing large scale entertainment events for troops, but there are other outreaches such as the Mobile USO, USO Centers and airport centers.
Staff Sgt. Craig Showers said he appreciated the USO making a stop at Fort Gordon.
"I think it's a very good thing for Soldiers to get rest and recreation and take a break from the day to day," he said.
Sweeney said the recent visit may have been the first, but it certainly won't be the last as she's talked to several people on post about a return visit possibly before year's end.
"That's why the trial (visit) is so important," she said. "Until you see it, you don't get the effect. I wish we could stay longer, but it's a good starting point."