USO provides comforts of home

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Approximately 15 teams of Airmen from F. E. Warren Air Force Base trip out to missile alert facilities covering more than 9,600 square miles in support of the ICBM mission daily.

Airman First Class Samuel Burcher, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron defender, is headed off to work, but his duty day is vastly different from many of his Air Force counterparts. Burcher is just one member of a team of deployed in place Airmen that will spend the next three to four days at a remote missile alert facility.

“At first, tripping out took some getting used to, but after developing a rhythm I learned to adjust,” said Burcher. “A big thing is to make sure you pack everything you need because if you forget something, you’re pretty much guaranteed to go the next four days without it.”

A packed bag can weigh up to 35 pounds filled with extra uniforms, civilian clothes, undergarments, toiletries, entertainment items and snacks.

To lessen the load, the 90th Medical Operations Squadron mental health flight has teamed up with multiple units across the base to provide nonperishable food items for their Wingmen working at these remote sites.

After several trips out to missile alert facilities, SSgt Robert Mussyal, 90th Medical Operations Squadron mental health NCO in charge, experienced first-hand the challenges his Wingmen faced working in these isolated environments.

“I got to trip out with the Operations Group a few times and learned that basically if they don’t take it out, they don’t have it,” said Mussyal. “After working through the approval process, we’ve finally reached the point where we have USO2GO kits on the ground and out at the MAFs. Our hope is that this program gives Airmen more resources and puts money back in their pockets so they can take care of the things that matter most to them.”

According to the USO website, USO2GO kits offer the comforts of home for troops serving in remote locations around the globe. Since the program’s launch in 2008, more than 1,500 kits have been shipped to more than 800 locations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti, and Kuwait.

“The Airmen doing the missile mission face many challenges comparable to more traditional deployments,” said Skip Vanderbach, USO Denver Center Director. “Our hope is that the items provided in the kits will help brighten their days, if even just for a moment.”

To date, Airmen of the Mighty Ninety have received about a ton of non-perishable food items. The intent is to deliver two shipments to three different sites per month.

“These kits are great and make life a lot better.... My co-workers and I snack on food when we’re hungry in-between meals and late at night. It makes me feel appreciated.” said Burcher.

These morale-boosting edible enjoyment kits are the first of many. In the future, coordinators hope to provide kits that include electronics and fitness equipment.

Editor’s Note:

A special thanks to the USO Tiger team for establishing this new program:

Maj. Michael Vernale

Capt. Patricia Manzur Ballard

1st Lt. Carissa Silva

2nd. Lt. Roberto Salina Jimenez

Master Sgt. Tina Bakker

Tech. Sgt. Franklin Guerrero

Staff Sgt. Robert Mussyal