By Pvt. Angela Mckenzie, 2ID Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 20, 2008
It started in 1941, a turbulent period of time when President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for a recreational outlet for Servicemembers. Now, 67 years later, the United Service Organizations operate 130 centers in nine countries and 21 states. Here in Korea, the USO Canteen at U.S. Army Garrison-Casey celebrated the organization's 67th birthday, Feb. 1. The USO was first created on Feb. 4, 1941, in New York and has operated across the Republic of Korea since 1951. The USAG-Casey command team joined in on the celebration and spoke on the importance of the USO in military life. "We are very fortunate in 2ID to have the USO here on USAG-Casey," said Lt. Col. Donald Meisler, USAG-Casey commander. "It is a critical aspect of morale and the well being of Soldiers." The 2ID USO served more than 118,000 Servicemembers, Families and civilians in 2007. The organization provides a place where Soldiers can eat, relax, or even take a break during a field exercise with the USO's Mobile Canteen. "Our job is to help Soldiers in any way we can," said James L. Allen, manager of the 2ID USO. "We come out to the range in our mobile canteen and have barbeques and free raffles." All events the organization sponsors, such as their birthday, are held to boost morale for Servicemembers. The USO's history has proven, since the beginning, it will stand by American Servicemembers no matter where they are in the world. "It's more than a tour program," said Meisler. "It's a part of our history." The birthday celebration was held during lunch where more than 50 Soldiers and civilians in the USO Canteen listened to Allen and the USAG-Casey leadership. "Our mission is to provide recreation and support wherever they (Servicemembers) are stationed, and we've been doing our best for the past 67 years," said Allen.