The USO was formed in 1941 in response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt who determined it would be best if private organizations handled the on-leave recreation needs of the rapidly growing U.S. armed forces. Roosevelt’s call to action led six civilian agencies to coordinate their civilian war efforts and resources to form a new organization – the USO (United Service Organizations). The six civilian agencies were the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board. The USO was incorporated in New York February 4, 1941. The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, supported by private citizens and corporations.
Throughout World War II, the USO was the channel for community participation in the war effort. In more than 3,000 communities, USO centers were established to become the GIs “Home Away from Home.” Between 1940 and 1944, U.S. troops grew from 50,000 to 12 million, and their need for a variety of services grew accordingly. USO facilities were quickly opened in such unlikely places as churches, log cabins, museums, castles, barns, beach and yacht clubs, railroad sleeping cars, old mansions and storefronts.
At its high point in 1944, the USO had more than 3,000 clubs. USOs could be many things to many people: a lively place to dance and meet people; a place to see movies or find religious counsel; a quiet place to talk or write letters; and, of course, a place to go for free coffee and doughnuts.
From 1941 to 1947, USO Camp Shows presented an amazing 428,521 performances. In 1945, curtains were rising 700 times a day to audiences as large as 15,000 and as small as 25 on some outposts all over the world. More than 7,000 entertainers traveled overseas. During World War II, Americans had come together as never before. By war’s end, the USO could claim that more than 1.5 million volunteers had worked on its behalf.
December 31, 1947: All USO clubs and facilities are closed, and the organization is given an honorable discharge by President Harry S. Truman.
The Edgemont Tribune; Sept. 16, 1942; pg. 5; NEW FURNITURE AT U.S.O. CLUB
At open house last Thursday about 150 people used the new furniture and were served refreshments. In the evening Miss Helen Morganti and Miss Ellen Colgan each sang solos accompanied by Miss Alice Hult and Mrs. Fritz on the piano, and in the afternoon Mrs. Swick played the piano. Miss Dorothy Brown gave a humorous reading.
The Edgemont Tribune; Sept. 30, 1942; pg. 4; U.S.O. HIGHLIGHTS; Community Chorus
People who like to sing will be interested in a community chorus to have its first practice under the direction of Miss Helen Morganti Friday evening at 8 o'clock in the U.S.O. Center.
Anyone from Edgemont, Provo, or the Depot who enjoys singing is invited, as a good-sized group of men and women able to give some enjoyable music under this capable leadership should turn out for the weekly practices. High school students are also invited to participate.
|Vol. II No. 21||page 6||May 28, 1943|
Whist and bridge are the two card games most popular at M-35 on Tuesday evenings. Be there next week at 7:30 P.M. Try to beat down the winners from last week: Mrs. Hazen Larson and Bud Wolter at whist, and Mrs. Merritt Howe and Mrs. Primm at bridge.
Did anyone say people out here aren't honest? I never heard it but just in case anyone ever does, listen to this: A pair of galoshes were left on the telephone booth at M-35 for nearly a week and that's where they stayed. What with the rubber shortage and Provo mud, that speaks well for human kind.
|Vol. II No. 21||page 16||May 28, 1943|
If variety is the spice of life, the BHOD has plenty of salt and pepper, because there is a variety of talent in people living on the Area. The spice will be evidenced (we hope) at a Variety Show, Friday, June 18th, at PX Hall, when everyone will have the privilege of displaying his talent for the pleasure of everyone else on the Area.
Friday, June 18th, is still several weeks off. That will give you a chance to practice up on that slight-of-hand, brush up on that tap-dance routine, get your partner for a duet or take the wrinkles out of your vocal cords. If you can do anything to entertain others, don’t hide your ability but call Mrs. Davis in the Special Service Department, Phone 19, and leave your name, address, and the nature of your performance. U.S.O.
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