Fort McCoy News February 9, 2018

Birthday video features USO Wisconsin-Fort McCoy

as one of 15 sites

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Members of USO Wisconsin at Fort McCoy did their part to create a video that recognized the national USO's 77th birthday Feb. 4.

"USO Wisconsin was just one of 15 international USO locations to be represented in the video," said Ellie Hazlett, director of operations and volunteer management at USO Wisconsin. "That is a great honor for our organization and for Fort McCoy. I was happy we had a chance to be a part of it."

USO Wisconsin Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It currently operates six centers in Wisconsin that serve more than 25,000 military Families throughout the state. The USO has had a continuous presence in Wisconsin since 1943 through the global parent company, USO Inc.

Ellie Hazlett (center) of USO Wisconsin shows a video to Marines with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Improved Tactical Training Base Freedom on Jan. 25 at Fort McCoy. The video was made with the support of the Marines to wish the national USO a happy birthday. The video aired nationally Feb. 4.
Ellie Hazlett (center) of USO Wisconsin shows a video to Marines with
the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Improved Tactical Training Base Freedom
on Jan. 25 at Fort McCoy. The video was made with the support of the
Marines to wish the national USO a happy birthday. The video aired
nationally Feb. 4.

Three of the five Wisconsin USO centers are at Fort McCoy, which is also where the video was filmed.

"We filmed our portion of the video at Improved Tactical Training Base (ITTB) Freedom," Hazlett said. "We had some active-duty Marines who were staying at the base, and they helped us by appearing in the video."

The Marines were from units associated with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. Their main line in the video was "Happy Birthday USO." USO volunteer Heather Morales, who also is a Gold Star spouse with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Wisconsin National Guard, also assisted with the video.

Hazlett oversees all USO operations at Fort McCoy and throughout Wisconsin. She said USO involvement at Fort McCoy has grown since USO centers were established on post in 2015.

"It's essential for us to provide services for Soldiers in our state," Hazlett said. "The fact that from (Fort McCoy) we are able to not only provide support for our service members from Wisconsin, but also for service members from all over the country, is wonderful."

USO centers at Fort McCoy are located at ITTBs Freedom and Liberty and on the cantonment area in building 1501. Hazlett said USO Wisconsin also recently purchased a mobile USO truck for $42,000 to bring USO services to troops just about anywhere.

"The truck is mainly assigned to Fort McCoy but also can be used for military events and units throughout the state," Hazlett said. "To find out more, people just need to contact me."

And as the 2018 training season gets even busier at Fort McCoy, Hazlett said she and her team of volunteers will be ready to go.

"We will do as much as we can with the resources we have," Hazlett said. "It's an honor to support our troops in any way possible."

The three USO centers not at Fort McCoy are located at General Mitchell International Airport and the Military Entrance Processing Station in Milwaukee and at the La Cross International Airport.

"Our mobile USO truck, essentially, is also like a USO center," Hazlett said. "It offers all the same capabilities on wheels."

For more information about USO Wisconsin operations at Fort McCoy, or to become a USO volunteer, contact Hazlett by email at ehazlett@usowisconsin.org.