Families at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Enjoy Holiday Gathering, Strengthen Bonds and Community Thanks to the USO

Thousands of service members are spending this holiday season far away from their loved ones. For many of them, it’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last.

This is why the USO, and especially our USO centers here in the U.S. Southeast are providing holiday meals, family gatherings, gifts, photos with Santa and more to bring a little of home to our service members and their families.

Most recently, USO North Carolina held a holiday event called ‘Holiday Hangout,’ Dec. 10, at the USO center at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, where over 200 service members and their families enjoyed some holiday cheer and tasty treats.

“The events that the USO hosts are important because of the sense of community that drives us,” said Emily Bernson, USO North Carolina Center Operations and Program Manger for the triangle area. “The USO at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is a place where everyone can feel welcome and really get a taste of home.”

Attendees enjoyed hot sandwiches, fresh fruit, and holiday cookies. Holiday crafts were also provided where families were able to make a holiday photo frame decorated in festive holiday foam-stickers, all while enjoying quality time together.

Photo Credit - Sandi Gohn

A military spouse attending the event shared that the best part of the evening was witnessing the local community coming together for the holidays.

“Seeing how many people are here tonight from our neighborhood is the favorite part of the evening for me,” said Erin Bott. “It’s just nice to see so many families out and enjoying everything the USO is doing for our military families.”

In addition to festive holiday treats and crafts, the USO provided airmen and military families in attendance an opportunity to play the recently released ‘Halo Infinite’ game to enjoy during the event.

Understanding the positive impact that gaming has on service members, especially those who are deployed, the USO has created its USO Gaming program to help reduce loneliness and relieve stress for service members and their families.

Photo Credit - Barry Morris

For Airman Paul Johnson from Atlanta, Georgia, this was his first time experiencing the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (SJAFB) USO center, and he was impressed with the USO Gaming center here.

“This is amazing. I have never seen a gaming center like this before, said Johnson. “I will definitely come back here on my off days and just hang out. It’s a real nice hangout spot.”

To ensure service members always have a way to connect and a community to support them, the USO is committed to fostering strong online and in-person gaming communities.

Since 2020, the USO has developed gaming communities across Twitch, Discord, YouTube, and Facebook, as well as building out state-of-the-art gaming and esports centers within our USO centers like the one at SJAFB.

“Whether you are a single airman in the dorms, a family new to base, or have been at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base for a while, we want you to feel like you can find comfort at the USO and our programs are a way to bring everyone together,” said Bernson.

Photo Credit - Sandi Gohn

The USO – with the help of volunteers, donors and partners – strengthens our military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, especially during the holiday season. Although our service members may be away from home for the holidays, the USO brings a little of home to them.

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