Very often USO volunteers are the last ones to offer a hug, a sandwich and send off for a military service member as they head into a conflict zone. Often we are there to share the gratitude of the American people as family members wave goodbye and their son and daughter give them one more smile and giant hug, and their spouse offers a tearful goodbye. Often, we don’t know them beyond their name, rank and what they might want on their hot dog as they wait to depart. This time it’s different.

On April 21st, our President of Bob Hope USO, Bob Kurkjian, will head into the field on a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan in service to our nation.  He will command the Defense Logistics Agency team in Afghanistan. A Navy reservist for nearly two decades, Bob will transition from USO leader to a USO customer.  He knows the power of the USO and its volunteers, and he’s grateful that the USO will be here for him and his family. Bob knows he can call home to his young children and his wife from the USO at Bagram. He knows he will celebrate the Fourth of July in a foreign land, grateful for the freedoms provided by the generations of others before him, while his wife and kids watch the fireworks from the safety of Joint Training Base in Los Alamitos. And he knows his wife and their two children will have the full support of the USO’s military spouse and family programs while he is thousands of miles around the world. His family will be surrounded by other military children at the annual Military Family Carnival and celebrated at Salute to Service events, where recognition is given to families as the “true heroes” in the military. Bob may even have a chance to participate in a USO entertainment tour with a visit from the cast of a popular network television program or a concert performed by a well-known country artist. All of this is possible because of the community of supporters that the USO brings together. All because of donors like you.

It shouldn’t be different because we know Bob and his family. But it is. Knowing that our leader will be stationed in a conflict zone, deployed to protect and defend our nation, hits closer to home. For Bob, our USO family means the world to him, and we stand united in our show of support and appreciation for his service and dedication to the USO mission and our country. We hope you will too.

Thank you for your support! To follow Bob’s journey in Afghanistan visit #cdrkinafg #commanderkurkjian