by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Haley
SASEBO, Japan (May 25, 2016) The Commander U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo Fleet Landing USO reopened its doors after a renovation May 25, 2016.
The renovation was to help modernize the center and create a more relaxing atmosphere.
“Over the past 75 years the USO has been providing support to our military members,” USO Area Director Juliet Bucayu-Domingo explained,” Really, a little touch of home, or a home away from home for many of our service members overseas and away from their family members.”
The USO has been in Fleet Landing since early 1993. Fleet Landing is in a high traffic area between the barracks, ships, Navy Exchange and food court. This central location has made it very accessible and an average of 50,000 service members use the Fleet Landing USO annually. This high volume of visitors caused wear and tear on a facility that hadn’t been updated in a decade.
“We have repainted the entire facility, added new furniture, all new televisions, and gaming consoles. The entire renovations were budgeted at $36,000.” said USO Sasebo Programs Coordinator Aubree Minakami. “We hope that the improvements will enhance the service members experience at the Fleet Landing USO and assist in keeping them connected to family, home and country, through their service to the nation.”
Being such a well-used resource by service members stationed in or visiting Sasebo, the USO received Top Center honors during the 2016 Tell USO Awards Ceremony for the Pacific region. The ceremony honors USO centers for their commitment and dedication to American service members and military families. The decision for who wins top honors is based on volunteer and customer feedback through online surveys and was presented during the re-opening ceremony.
According to Center Operations Manager Brian White, USO Sasebo scored 4.9 out of a possible 5 and beat out 19 other USO centers within the Pacific region. “This is the first time that USO Sasebo has ever won this award so knowing that it happened on my watch makes me feel like king of the world,” said White.
USO Sasebo currently has three paid staff members and more than 160 active volunteers. Fleet Landing USO is manned exclusively by volunteers from the Sasebo community.
“Not only are our volunteers and the various leadership components here so supportive, but also the community,” said Bucayu-Domingo, “The USO Sasebo is an epitome in terms of the center and what we’re able to provide as services. I’m really proud that USO Sasebo was selected as the best center in the Pacific region this year”