INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
Being in a different country away from family and friends
can be difficult for service members stationed and deployed at Incirlik Air
Base, Turkey. Knowing family separation adds stress, USO Incirlik strives to
connect service members with their family back home as well as build a
connected community on base.
With over 400 programs, USO Incirlik customizes activities
to fit the unique environment that comes along with being stationed here.
Lisa Wease, USO Incirlik center manager, gears those
programs towards connecting and entertaining people in a fun and friendly way
that is alcohol and tobacco free.
“Helping service members stay connected is a huge part of
the operation here. To aid in this, we have four ‘troop’ phones members can
call home on completely free of charge,” said Wease. “We also have phone
calling cards and a strong Wi-Fi connection if you would prefer to use your own
phone to call home.”
To stay connected to little ones, the USO also has a program
called United Through Reading, where members can record themselves reading a
book and the USO will mail that book and video to anywhere the member choses.
Other ways the USO likes to sustain the mission and improve
the welfare of service members is through their reoccurring weekly programs,
which include Waffle Wednesdays, Sunday brunch and Frozen Fridays.
“We are always out on Friday’s doing Frozen Fridays throughout
the summer, just to give you that little sweet treat and cool you off a little
bit,” said Wease. “We are looking for units and places where we can visit; we
want to come and surprise you.”
These programs are not possible without the dedication and
commitment from staff and volunteer members. While the USO is here to stay, it
is currently decreasing the number of staffed members. To maintain these
programs and facility hours, the USO is asking for volunteers to aid their
“We will definitely need the volunteers to kind of help us
with these 400 programs and also help us man the facility that is open seven days
a week,” said Wease. “There is [a program], it’s actually called volunteer
incentive program; based on the number of hours you get, you get some sort of
really cool USO swag.”
In addition to USO swag, military members who volunteer a
significant amount may also qualify for the military outstanding volunteer
Whether you receive swag and a medal or not, service
members’ volunteer commitment to the USO directly affects the hours or
Hours are largely dictated by when people can volunteer and
the amount of people who visit the center. To record these visits, the USO asks
people to sign it at kiosks.
“Always sign in, because your foot traffic really helps us
to get our funding to stay open, and choose great snacks and programs and
things like that.” We have a fun and relaxing environment,” said Wease. “You
can kind of step away. We are here for everybody, not just the deployers,
active duty, reservist, retired, and any coalition forces as well.”
The USO, located in patriot village, is currently open from
8 a.m. to 12 a.m., seven days a week.
For more information about the Incirlik USO, or to register
as a volunteer, contact Lisa Wease at 314-676-2829.