NEWS | Jan. 12, 2011

USO Mobile Canteen reaches out to Charleston area Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer R. Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The East Coast United Service Organization's mobile unit brought a little taste of home to Sailors at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station with their 40-foot multi-function, fun-filled mobile canteen, Jan. 10.

From its establishment in 1941, the USO has been the bridge between the American people and the U.S.Military, bringing service members a safe, comfortable and relaxing haven during their down time.

With USO mobile canteen units available since 2006, pushing out to remote areas that do not have USO centers available to service members has become much easier.

"Charleston is an area that doesn't have a USO, so I think it is great that we were able to come out here," said Mike Duchock, central mobile USO coordinator. "Some of these Sailors don't even know what the USO is, so it's great to be able to show them what we are all about."

According to retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Brunson, the East Coast mobile unit coordinator, there is not much difference between the mobile unit and a USO center.

"The mobile unit is great because it allows us to reach out to Sailors in remote areas and say thank you for their service," he said. "The USO mobile unit can provide a relaxing atmosphere, refreshments and tons of entertainment for service members to enjoy."

What many young Sailors don't know about the USO organization is it is mainly comprised of volunteers - American citizens going out of their way to say thank you to all the military men and women for protecting the United States, Mr. Brunson continued. "We couldn't do our job if it wasn't for all the volunteers."

The mobile unit is loaded with tons of goodies for service members to enjoy: outside of the unit are two 46" LCD televisions, Wii, and XBOX 360 with Rock Band capabilities. Inside are four work stations available for gaming and internet, four networked XBOX 360 stations, wireless connections and printing capabilities. A 12-person sectional couch is also available for service members to relax and watch a movie on a 46" LCD television with a home theater surround sound system.

"This is great," said Fireman Richard Pallanez, a student at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command at JB CHS-WS. "I think the services the USO provides are incredible and a great morale booster for many of us Sailors who don't get much down time."

Visiting the USO was a first for many junior Sailors except for Fireman Gregory Foley who comes from a long line of military family members.

"I think the USO mobile unit is a great idea. The organization is a wonderful service that is offered to military men and women around the world," he said. "My family and I think very highly of the USO."

The east coast mobile unit makes stops all along the east coast, from Maine to Florida, and has recently added two additional states, Kentucky and Tennessee and offers their services to all branches of the military.