Last night, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden welcomed the 2015 United Service Organization's (USO) Service Members of the Year, Volunteers of the Year, and their families to the Vice President’s Residence at the Naval Observatory to thank them for their heroism and unending service. “No matter the challenge, all of you serve with honor, distinction, and resilience,” Dr. Biden said. “Because of that, we thank you.”
A longstanding tradition that honors troops for their heroism and volunteers for their service, the USO Gala is a chance to thank the entire organization for their dedication to strengthening America’s military service members by maintaining their connections to family, home and country. As Dr. Biden said, “The work that you are doing every single day has made all the difference to so many of our warriors and their families.”
The USO is a private non-profit organization and is united in their commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO provides programs, services and entertainment to the United States troops and their families, around the world. Most famously known for its live shows in combat zones, the USO has been operating for nearly 75 years and has more than 30,000 volunteers across the globe supporting its mission.
Throughout the years, as part of her Joining Forces initiative with First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Biden has had the pleasure of partnering with the USO and its volunteers on several occasions to support service members and their families.
The Gala, held each fall, acknowledges the outstanding achievements through valor, fidelity, and heroism of enlisted military members from each branch of service and volunteers in the U.S and abroad. The Vice President spoke about the honorees, describing how several had saved lives on the battlefield even after being wounded themselves. He pointed out that there have been 2.7 million deployments since the attacks on 9/11, and the USO has served our troops both in combat zones and after they come home.
“You’re defined by your courage and redeemed by your loyalty,” the Vice President said. “I can’t think of a more loyal group of Americans.”
Colonel Nicole Malachowski, USAF, is the Executive Director of Joining Forces.
Jamie Lyons is the Policy Director for Dr. Jill Biden.