USO Meaning

USO meaning is United Service Organizations. The USO is a private organization that helps U.S. military members worldwide by giving them entertainment, social events, etc.

USO meaning

About United Service Organizations (USO)

The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is an American nonprofit charitable organization that provides live entertainment like comedians, actors, musicians, social facilities, and other programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Here is some information about the USO.

Company United Service Organizations
Founded: February 4, 1941
Type: Services
Location: Arlington, Virginia, U.S.
Area served: 200+ centers worldwide.
Revenue Donations : (a 501(c)(3) non-profit)
Volunteers : 30,000+

Since 1941, it has worked with the Department of War and, later, the Department of Defense (DoD). It gets most of its money, goods, and services from private donations from companies and individuals. Congress set it up, but it is not a government agency.

  • During World War II, when it was first started, the USO wanted to be the G.I.s’ “home away from home.” It started a tradition of entertaining the troops and giving them places to hang out.

  • Nearly 1.5 million people volunteered their services in some way for the USO, which was one of the many ways the country came together to help the war effort.

  • The USO was first disbanded in 1947, but it was brought back in 1950 for the Korean War. After that, it continued and offered services during times of peace.

  • During the Vietnam War, USOs were sometimes set up in areas where fighting was happening.

Camp Proves

The organization became well-known for its live performances, called “camp shows,” which help boost the morale of servicemen and women. In the beginning, Hollywood wanted to show how patriotic it was, so many famous people joined the USO.

They went to entertain as volunteers, and celebrities still do this on military bases in the U.S. and abroad, sometimes putting their own lives in danger by traveling or performing in dangerous situations. In 2011, the National Medal of Arts was given to the USO.

200 Places in 200 Countries

The USO has more than 200 locations in 14 countries, including the United States and 27 states. During a gala in 2016 to celebrate the USO’s 75th anniversary, the chairman of the USO Board of Governors, retired Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., said that over the years, the USO has helped more than 35 million Americans.


The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is a nonprofit charitable organization that helps military soldiers and their families by providing live entertainment, social facilities, and other services. Since 1941, it has worked with the Department of War and, later, the Department of Defense (DoD), mostly getting money from private and corporate donations. Congress set it up, but it is not a government agency.

Goals and Missions

Mary Ingraham started the USO in 1941 in response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for services to boost morale and entertain U.S. military personnel in uniform. Roosevelt was chosen to be the organization’s honorary chair. The Salvation Army, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), National Catholic Community Service, Travelers Aid Association, and National Jewish Welfare Board responded to this request.

They were put under one group to help U.S. troops instead of working independently, as some had done during the First World War. Roosevelt said he wanted “these private organizations to take care of the military men’s leisure time while they were on leave.” Emily Yellin, a historian, says, “The government was supposed to build the buildings, and the USO was supposed to raise money from private sources so that it could do its main job, which was to boost the morale of the military.”

President of the First National Campaign

Thomas Dewey was the first national campaign chairman. In the first year, he raised $16 million. The second chairman was Prescott Bush, who later became a senator. The USO was founded on February 4 in New York, and the first building was built in DeRidder, Louisiana, in 1941.

As a “Home Away from Home” for G.I.s, more USO centers, and clubs opened worldwide. People went to the USO club for dances and social events, movies and music, a quiet place to talk or write a letter home, or a free cup of coffee and an egg.

Celebrities from Hollywood and Volunteer Entertainers

The USO also brought in volunteer entertainers and famous people from Hollywood to perform for the troops. Steven Cohan, a movie historian, says that “most of all,” taking “Home” on the road connected the country to show business. The goal of USO camp shows was to remind soldiers of home."

He said they did this by giving the troops a sense of loyalty to America through popular entertainment. At the time, an article in Look magazine said, “For the short time the show lasts, the men are taken straight to the familiar Main Street, which is the goal of every American fighting far from home.”

Maxene Andrews wrote, “The fun brought the boys back home. Their homes.” At the start of the war, actor George Raft said, “Now it will be up to us to send the men here and abroad real, living entertainment, the songs, dances, and laughs they had back home.”

Uso’s Marketing Goals

“The story of USO camp shows belongs to the American people because their help made it happen. It is an important part of the lives of your sons, brothers, husbands, and sweethearts.”

In 2011, President Barack Obama gave the USO the National Medal of Arts “for helping lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families through the arts.”

World War II

In response to World War II, the group started in 1941, and “centers were quickly set up in churches, barns, railroad cars, museums, castles, beach clubs, and log cabins.” Most centers had things to do for fun, like holding dances and showing movies.

And, as everyone knows, there was free coffee and doughnuts. Some USO centers were places where people could go alone or write letters home, while others gave spiritual advice and helped military wives find childcare.

But the organization became best known for its live performances called “Camp Shows,” which helped boost the morale of its service members throughout the entertainment industry. USO Camp Shows, Inc. started in October 1941. By the fall and winter of that year, there were already 186 military theatres in the United States.

The first overseas show was in the Caribbean in November 1941. Within five months, 36 overseas units were sent to the Americas, the U.K., and Australia; in 1942, 1,000 people worked as part of 70 units. Average performers were paid $100 a week, while top stars were paid $10 daily because their wealth let them show off more of their skills.

Some data about World War II are given below.

  • The American Theatre Wing put on these shows overseas. Their Stage Door Canteens also fed and entertained members of the military.

  • The money from selling the film rights to a story about the New York Canteen was used to send USO shows to troops overseas.

  • Edward G. Robinson was the first movie star to go to Normandy to entertain the troops after the invasion of June 6, 1944.

  • Back home, he had already helped out by selling war bonds and giving $100,000 to the USO.

Women entertainers

One female performer wrote about how things were when she was on stage. We’ve played for crowds where many people were knee-deep in mud and hiding under ponchos because it was pouring rain (it breaks your heart the first two or three times to see men so hungry for entertainment.) We played on outdoor stages in the rain, where we and the audience got wet.

We’ve played while huge tropical bugs flew into our hair and faces, and we’ve played for crowds of tens of thousands of men, some of whom were sitting in the trees. We’ve played for small groups of about 500 people and much larger groups of 8 to 10,000 people. Every night we play somewhere different.

Singer, actress, and dancer Ann Miller talked about performing for badly hurt soldiers. She put on 48 shows for “broken soldiers.” Most were lying on stretchers in hotel lobbies and watching her perform. Yellin writes, “She passed out during her last show and had to be taken home by an Army plane.” Miller told what happened afterward.


“Centers were built quickly in churches, barns, train cars, museums, castles, beach clubs, and log homes.” Most places had places to dance and watch movies. Free coffee and donuts were available. Some USO centers were quiet places to read or write, while others helped military women with their spiritual lives or cared for their children.

Frequently Asked Question - FAQs

Here are some important questions about this topic.

1 - What Does USO Mean in Tonga?

The Samoan word for brother is “USO,” and “us” is a shortened version of that word. “Dox” is the equivalent in Tongan. “token,” which means “sibling” in Tongan, became “Toko,” then “toks,” and finally “dox.”

2 - How Do You Say USO in Maori?

The Samoan word USO means “brother.” The word is gender-specific, meaning it can only be used between women. Men can say “USO” to each other but can’t say it to women.

3 - Who Should Use Uso?

As much as the USO would like to welcome retirees, disabled veterans, and all those who have served honorably, as a nonprofit organization, it must focus on helping those who need it most: active duty, Reserve, and Guard service members, as well as their families.

4 - How Does the Uso Help the Military?

The United Service Organizations, Inc., which is what USO stands for, helps military members and their families. This private organization has been helping military members all over the world for almost 80 years with the help of volunteers and donations.

5 - How Do Samoans Refer to Their Fathers?

Samoans often use the same word to talk about their mother and aunts (tin) and their father and uncles (tam).

6 - Why Do Samoan Say Use?

“Use” comes from the Samoan word “USO,” which is used when a man calls another man his brother or a woman calls another woman her sister. Some people think it means “brother” because of the way it has been translated.

7 - How Do People in Samoa Refer to Themselves?

Samoans speak the Samoan language and are the native Polynesians of the Samoan Islands, an archipelago in Polynesia. They are called “Tagata Samoa” in their language.

8 - You Can Sleep in the Uso.

Denver Airport. The USO Lounge at Denver Airport makes a long layover go by quickly. You can get snacks and drinks, use Wi-Fi, sit in comfortable chairs, play with your kids in a room with video games and a foosball table, read in a library, or sleep in recliners.

9 - Can Dependents Use Uso?

According to the USO charter, we must let all active, guard, and reserve military members and their immediate family members into the USO.

10 - Can Military Retirees Go to the Uso?

As a nonprofit organization, the USO would love to welcome retirees, disabled veterans, and all those who have served honorably, but it doesn’t have enough space or money to do so.


The USO provides entertainment, social activities, and other things for U.S. military personnel serving overseas. The group is known for its live camp concerts, which help boost the spirits of service members. Early on, Hollywood wanted to show how patriotic it was, so several stars joined the USO.

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Optimized By Kamran Alvi On 24-09-22