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"USO" redirects here. For other uses, see USO (disambiguation).

The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO Show) is a nonprofit organization that provides programs, services and live entertainment to United States troops and their families. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), relying heavily on private contributions and on funds, goods, and services from various corporate and individual donors. Although congressionally chartered, it is not a government agency. The USO operates 160 centers worldwide.

During World War II, the USO became the G.I.'s "home away from home" and began a tradition of entertaining the troops that continues today. Involvement in the USO was one of the many ways in which the nation had come together to support the war effort, with nearly 1.5 million Americans having volunteered their services in some way. After it was disbanded in 1947, it was revived in 1950 for the Korean War, after which it also provided peacetime services. During the Vietnam War, USOs were sometimes located in combat zones.

The organization became particularly famous for its live performances called Camp Shows, through which the entertainment industry helped boost the morale of its servicemen and women. Hollywood in general was eager to show its patriotism, and many famous celebrities joined the ranks of USO entertainers. They entertained in military bases at home and overseas, sometimes placing their own lives in danger, by traveling or performing under hazardous conditions.

Today the USO has over 160 locations around the world in 14 countries (including the U.S.) and 27 states. In 2009, USO centers served 7.7 million visitors. That number climbed to more than 8 million in 2011.

Brigadier General (Retired) John I. Pray, Jr., joined the USO in 2009 as Senior Vice President of Entertainment and Programs. He became president of the USO in early 2014.


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