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Courtesy USO

It’s 70 years strong this year, and it has no plans to slow down.

While brave troops around the globe are busy defending U.S. interests, the United ?Service Organizations (USO), which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, continues to ensure that the emotional needs of those service members and their families are met.

Launched in 1941, the USO has taken an active role in every modern conflict in which U.S. troops have been involved, from World War II to Somalia to Afghanistan. And while thoughts of the USO may still bring to mind Bob Hope (or, for younger generations, Toby Keith) performing to thousands of smiling troops, the organization has evolved with the changing battlefield.

“When we think about who needs us most today, our troops serving in harm’s way and their families back home enduring the stresses of multiple deployments deserve our very best,” says Sloan D. Gibson, president of the USO. “Our wounded warriors, their families and our ?families of the fallen are fighting a different enemy — ?despair — and we are doing all we can to sustain their hope for the happy and fulfilling future they so richly deserve.”

Entering its eighth decade serving the armed forces, the USO now has 160 facilities around the world, with offerings ranging from assistance for those wounded in battle to DVDs of Sesame Street characters that provide support for the children of those on active duty. And in airports across the country, the USO has centers where troops can find a comfortable chair, refreshments and many other comforts they’ve sacrificed while stationed around the world. www.uso.org