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From the Commanding Officer: Open letter regarding USO closing

15 Jun 2017 | Col. Michael L. Carter Chemical Biological Incident Response Force

For years the Naval Support Facility Indian Head United Services Organization has provided a warm home away from home for the service members and families who live and work aboard the base, as the organization does at other bases, in foreign nations, airports and other areas across the world. I cannot overstate the impact the USO has had on the communities in which they operate through their selfless devotion to our service members around the world and I want to say thank you to those amazing people who volunteer their time to this superb organization!

NSF Indian Head is home to the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force Marines and Sailors, who make up the overwhelming majority of the base’s active duty personnel. CBIRF serves as a 24-hour alert crisis response unit. For years, CBIRF Marines and Sailors and their families looked to the USO as a place they could relax, conduct recreational activities and get a bite to eat or drink in between training and operations. Led by their tireless Center Supervisor Barbara Locke, the USO hosted numerous events for service members and their families that brought the community together and offered events outside of work they cannot find anywhere else in the local area.

Located on a base lacking many resources, such as a commissary, a large exchange or places to eat, the USO serves as an integral part of the Indian Head community. Barbara and her staff do not limit their activities to the USO building. They bring their services directly to the Marines and Sailors by hosting unit parties and coordinating with the local supermarkets to conduct weekly Supermarket Sweeps which provides hundreds of pounds of fresh produce and canned goods to the Marines and Sailors. Barbara is viewed by our Marines and Sailors as family and as the embodiment of the USO’s mission to “strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.”

The unexpected news that the USO would be closing in three weeks was heartbreaking for all these reasons and countless more but we are eternally grateful for everything Barbara and her staff have done for us. We wish this decision would be reconsidered.

The USO is truly an amazing organization and will leave a deep void in the Indian Head community.

Marines, Sailors and CBIRF family please take some time between now and June 16 to thank Barbara and her staff for their tremendous sacrifice and devotion to you.

Barbara, as an adopted member of the CBIRF family we will miss you and hope you great success in your future endeavors.

 

Sincerely,

Col. Michael L. Carter

Commanding Officer

Chemical Biological Incident Response Force

U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command


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