USO: For the Troops

Nov. 11 at 8 p.m.

For 75 years, abroad and on the homefront, the USO (United Service Organizations) has strengthened U.S. service personnel. “USO – For the Troops” takes viewers behind the scenes and inside the organization, providing an eye-opening glimpse into how the USO has kept service personnel connected to country, home, family and hope.

This film takes viewers on an around-the-world USO tour, offering unprecedented access to the background operations that make it possible for celebrities to travel across the world, purely expressing their gratitude to the troops and bringing echoes of home to those stationed overseas. In-depth interviews with Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, Colin Powell, Ann-Margret, former President George W. Bush, Raquel Welch, Al Franken, and a host of other personalities highlight the importance of these tours to the men and women who serve in our armed forces.

From Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center in Iraq, from performances on stage to overnight flights in the belly of a C-130 transport plane, this film showcases the fast and complex logistics of a modern USO tour. As the crew travels around the globe, historic footage of USO tours, from WWII to the current day, is interspersed throughout the documentary, providing viewers with new insights into intersections between American culture, warfare, and the USO. In particular, a man practically synonymous with the mission of the USO, Bob Hope, ties together the various conflicts through his continued insistence upon visiting troops overseas.

In an age in which most Americans have little idea what it actually means to serve in the armed forces, our country is at risk of losing its understanding of the intensity and horrors of being at war. By showcasing these daunting conditions, side by side with the comforting and connecting activities of the USO and its volunteers, “USO – For the Troops” creates a comprehensive view of not just the enduring impact of the USO, but of the reality of being at war throughout the past 75 years.

While some aspects of war have greatly changed, the need for connection, entertainment, and care within our armed forces has not. “USO – For the Troops” underlines the importance of the organization not just for service people, but for America as a whole.

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