ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwired - September 23, 2016) - It's official, USO Incirlik is now open and providing much needed support to our service members at the tip of the spear in Turkey. The USO celebrated the opening of its 1,000-square-foot-center in Patriot Village, a location on Incirlik Air Base near deployed U.S., NATO, and coalition forces. The ceremony was highlighted with words of gratitude from the 39 ABW commander, Colonel John C. Walker, and culminated with a cake cutting and home town BBQ for the troops.
As the doors opened and war-fighters flooded the center, you could hear the excitement and amazement in everyone's voices. USO Incirlik's very first customer, Airman First Class Michala Weller said, "Wow, this is like an oasis, nicer than the USOs I've seen in the States."
After the Department of State issued an order to depart all dependents from the base, United States military leadership turned to the USO to provide the comfort, connection, and support our service members and their families desire in difficult times of separation.
39th Air Base Wing leadership paved the way, offering the space in Patriot Village that was transformed from a big, open room to a USO that is now providing signature programs and services keeping not only our service members, but those of our NATO partners connected to the people, places and things they love. The new USO center is equipped with an internet café with five computers stations, four Samsung phones equipped with unlimited world-wide international calling capabilities and most importantly free WiFi. USO strategic partner TKS -- which provides pivotal communications support for the organization across Europe -- has provided the center with more than 150 channels of free television. There's also a new kitchen, a gaming area with two additional TVs and multiple gaming consoles, a pool table, two foosball tables and all new hand-made Turkish furniture. In the weeks ahead, the center will also add a quiet room where service members will be able to study, relax or record themselves reading a USO/United Through Reading-Military Program book to send to their children back home.
Incirlik Air Base is currently home to approximately 4,000 permanently assigned and newly deployed U.S. and NATO military and civilian personnel. The number of deployed U.S. service members at Incirlik Air Base has nearly doubled since August 2015, while the number of U.S. and NATO aircraft has grown fourfold. Close to many of the world's potential trouble spots, Incirlik Air Base is an important location in NATO's Southern Region. The mission of the host 39th Air Base Wing is to provide global reach and global power for America, deliver world-class logistical support and infrastructure for U.S. and NATO forces in Turkey, and enhance regional stability. Incirlik Air Base continues to play a strategic role in the fight to defeat Da'esh.
As the USO celebrates its 75th year, its mission of strengthening America's service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country is as vital today as it was in 1941. With the opening of USO Incirlik, the USO will be able to increase its offering of existing programs utilized by the expanding deployed community of both U.S. and multi-national forces. It is expected that the numbers will grow significantly over the next few years. Moreover, the establishment of USO Incirlik will further enable the USO to initiate, develop, and execute our mission at austere locations in direct support of the warfighter. The ever-increasing numbers of deployed personnel has created a clear demand for USO programs and services at Incirlik Air Base.
To view photos from the event, please visit: https://uso.box.com/s/wxauwp3j8rgd9jse3towqszkwcqg8430
About the USO
The USO strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.
In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President's Circle Partners: AT&T, the BNSF Railway Foundation, Clark Construction Group, LLC, The Coca-Cola Company, FedEx, Jeep, Johnson & Johnson, Kroger, NFL, Southern New Hampshire University and Four-Star Partners: Advisors Excel, BIC, ConAgra Foods, GEICO, Harris Teeter, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Starbucks, TKS, USAA and the Wawa Foundation. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.