44th Annual USO Service Salute


44th Annual USO Service Salute

by: Scott Wheeler | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: February 18, 2015

I can remember one of the first places we got to visit out of military basic training was the USO.  As we entered the facility, we were greeted by a large map of the United States hanging on the wall.  We were offered a tack to stick into the State that we were from.  Being from the smallest state (Hint!!), there were only a couple other tacks placed where I was from.  The comfort and warm welcome that I found at the USO that day is a moment that I will always remember.  The USO motto of ‘Everyone Moment Counts’ was never more relevant to me than that day back in 1988.

Another great moment was the 44th annual USO Service Salute that I was recently able to attend at the Kadena Officer’s Club on Kadena Air Base.  Each year, honorees from different branches of the US and Japanese military are honored for their outstanding dedication to duty and commitment.  The opening remarks of USO Area Manager Robin Miller, Invocation by Chaplain Yonina Creditor,  Presentation of Colors, Keynote Speaker Brigadier General James B. Hecker and a toast by Lieutenant General Junichi Araki of the Japanese Forces all made for a very pleasurable evening. 

This year’s honorees were:

SPC Hideo Kanetaka
Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force

PO3 Masashi Nishi
Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force

Tsgt Kazuya Nishimura, Japanese
Air Self-Defense Force

Sra Nekia R. Bruce
United States Air Force

LS2 (AW/SW) Paul Ian U. Villalobos
United States Navy

Cpl Jordan L. Viches
United States marine Corps

Sgt Margaret Kaggwa
United States Army