Walking into work on a Friday morning, Sailors on the USS Ross were greeted by Christmas music, Frosty the Snowman, and USO elves dancing and handing out gifts. Every Sailor received a USO Holidays pack with all kinds of goodies inside including a deck of cards, a Jeep beanie, a pair of comfy USO socks, many different snacks that remind them of home, some hot cocoa, and a postcard to send home. In addition, to ensure the Sailors started their day off well, they were treated to festive drinks like peppermint mocha, gingerbread latte and white chocolate hot cocoa!
USO Rota visited the USS Roosevelt, USS Porter, USS Arleigh Burke, Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 1 (NMCB-1), Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Company, Europe (FASTEUR) Marines, and even the deployed Air Force up at Morón Air Base to spread holiday joy over the 12 Days of Giveaways. The holiday season can be one of the most challenging times of the year for service members who are away from their families, and the USO’s mission is to ensure a home away from home is provided to each service member and their family, especially those single, unaccompanied, or deployed. USO Rota’s 12 Days of Christmas program aimed to reach as many military service members as possible and provide them with some holiday happiness!
In addition to the expeditionary commands, USO Rota provided programming for military spouses and children and other members of the community with days focused on festive holiday lattes, like Italian eggnog and salted caramel, and a hot cocoa bar! Military spouses had the opportunity to visit the USO Center to make their very own Christmas ornaments! While doing so, they enjoyed the festive atmosphere of the center, sipped on special holiday lattes, met other spouses, and left with a special gift to put on their tree.
The 12 Days of Christmas officially concludes with the annual Operation Cookie Drop on both Christmas Eve and Day, where the USO Rota elves went around base with holiday music and cheerful smiles and handed out homemade cookies to service members on duty to say thank you and show their love and appreciation.
The feedback on these programs was overwhelmingly positive! While the gifts are wonderful perks, the experience provided to every member of the community is what they truly remember. The USO’s mission is to connect service members to home, and what better way to remind them of their holiday traditions than spreading holiday joy!
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