USO; keeping service members connected

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brittany E. N. Murphy
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

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 operations.


“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 , 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 service medal.


Whether you receive swag and a medal or not, service members’ volunteer commitment to the USO directly affects the hours or operation.


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.