USO South Carolina Boosts Morale, Keeps South Carolina National Guard Soldiers Cool and Refreshed during Month-Long Training

After a year of unknowns and limited training opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, units with the South Carolina National Guard conducted annual training at McCrady Training Center and Poinsett Electronic Combat Range in Eastover, South Carolina. This year, USO South Carolina and USO Mobile surprised these service members with daily visits to provide a welcomed morale boost.

Over the span of two weeks, USO South Carolina provided food, fun, and supplies to over 900 South Carolina National Guard Soldiers and Navy Individual Augmentee Sailors conducting training at McCrady Training Center. Mission delivery consisted of over 13,000 snacks, 3,500 bottles of water and Powerade, 1,000 ice pops, 650 slushes, and lots of other treats to keep service members cool and refreshed as they conducted training in the sweltering summer heat of South Carolina.

USO South Carolina was sure to mix up the daily visits by delivering different surprises each day. On Wednesday, June 9, USO South Carolina and Starbucks arrived at McCrady Training Center to serve Starbucks refreshers, snacks, and toiletries to South Carolina National Guard Soldiers with the 1223rd Vertical Engineering Company who worked in the sweltering, 90-degree, heat. This surprise treated the Soldiers with a well-deserved break from building a tactical training course that reaches more than 20 feet into the air.

Sergeant First Class Douglas Brill, a heavy equipment expert for 1223rd Engineer Company said, “The USO is awesome – you guys never cease to amaze me.” Brill went on to say, “you [the USO] bring joy to so many Soldiers and you boost morale. You may not think it’s a big impact, but for us it’s huge…you bring smiles amongst the ranks.”

The USO South Carolina team loaded up each night and headed to Poinsett Range, where South Carolina National Guard Soldiers were training as a unit to maintain their mission readiness. USO Mobile was there for five nights and provided a place for Soldiers to grab a snack, get out of the rain, charge their phones, and even challenge each other to games of Call of Duty or an intense game of Connect Four.

The surprises did not stop there. The South Carolina National Guard Soldiers were astonished when they heard that USO South Carolina partnered with Texas Roadhouse to bring over 500 meals of hamburgers, hot dogs, beef tips, pulled pork, mashed potatoes, sweet tea, and even brownies for dessert.

“The South Carolina National Guard has worked tirelessly over the last year to support our community during the natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joanie Thresher, Executive Director, USO South Carolina. “We were thrilled to support this year’s annual training in a big way, including a catered meal for the soldiers working at the Poinsett Range. We are grateful for our incredible partners, USAA and Texas Roadhouse for making this dinner possible.”

According to the Department of Defense, the Army National Guard’s mission is to “maintain properly trained and equipped units, available for prompt mobilization for war, national emergency, or as otherwise needed.” Whether in training or while deployed, service members know that the USO is there to boost their morale and bring them a piece of home.

USO Staffers - Sarah Kemp and Barry Morris contributed to this article.

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