February 4th is the 80th birthday of the United Service Organizations or USO. The USO has been a fixture in military life since 1941. The agency is a private, not-for-profit organization that works in cooperation with the Department of Defense. It provides live entertainment and other programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. It is congressionally chartered, but not a government agency. It relies heavily on private contributions and on funds, goods, and services from various corporate and individual donors.
Founded during World War II, the USO sought to be the GI’s “home away from home” and began a tradition of entertaining the troops that continues today. In 2011, the USO was awarded the National Medal of Arts. The USO has over 200 locations around the world in 14 countries (including the United States) and 27 states. In 2016, It was estimated that it had served more than 35 million Americans over its history. To donate, go to uso.org/donate.