[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 25, 2008

Mobile USO canteen helps Soldiers celebrate 4th of July at Fort McCoy

      The United Service Organization (USO) Mobile Canteen came to Fort McCoy for a two-day visit on the Fourth of July weekend, according to Jobi Spolum, Fort McCoy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) marketing representative.

Photo: The United Services Organization Mobile Canteen served Soldiers during a two-day visit to Fort McCoy. (Photo by Jobi Spolum)
The United Service Organizations Mobile Canteen served Soldiers during a two-day visit to Fort McCoy. 
(Photo by Jobi Spolum)

      Parked at the Community Activity Center, the USO provided snacks and desserts for visitors.  They have three large-screen televisions, an Internet and video gaming area and kitchen area. The display featured the USO-sponsored United Through Reading program, which allows a deploying servicemember to record themselves reading a children's book onto a DVD.

       "We send the DVD and book home to the child in their life," Tamra Birchfield said. Birchfield is with the canteen.

      The canteen also was at the Fort McCoy Soldier Readiness Center one day to be available to assist demobilizing troops. "Each night we provided drinks and snacks as well as an air-conditioned environment to relax," Birchfield said. The interior of the canteen houses Xbox 360 games and a lounge with surround sound.

      Birchfield said, "This is the second year the canteen visited Fort McCoy. The Mobile USO program was launched in 2006 and began serving troops in 2007."

      "With the current movement of troops and the ever-changing demands placed on the military, we cannot build a brick and mortar facility to service every area of need," Birchfield said. The mobiles are a way to bring core USO programs and services to troops that don't have a local USO to provide for them.

      Birchfield said there are three mobile canteens in the country that each travel in a circuit in their region. The one that visited Fort McCoy also goes to Ohio, Texas the Dakotas and Alabama. "We are on the road two to three weeks every month."

      Birchfield said the next canteen visit to Fort McCoy is tentatively scheduled for the first week in September.

      For the Fourth of July, the Fort McCoy MWR Office, along with United Services Automobile Association and Reinhart Foods, provided a free dinner of brats, hamburgers, cookies and watermelon to about 125 servicemembers. (No federal endorsement is implied.)  Door prizes, pool, pingpong and shuffleboard tournaments also were available throughout the day.

      The Fourth of July meal and games was a first-time event, according to Spolum.


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