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    USO and 642nd RSG host ‘Party in the Desert’

    USO and 642nd RSG host ‘Party in the Desert’

    Photo By Ismael Ortega | Soldiers take part in carnival activities during “Party in the Desert,” an event...... read more read more



    Story by Ismael Ortega 

    Mobilization and Deployment, DPTMS Fort Bliss

    USO volunteers and Soldiers from the 642nd Regional Support Group, Army Reserve, hosted “Party in the Desert,” an event where Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who were in the middle of training here could decompress with food, games and other carnival activities Dec. 12, 2016.

    Located in the outskirts of New Mexico, close to the Texas state line, personnel at McGregor Range train more than 50,000 service members a year. Isolated from the rest of the world and without transport, events like these are refreshing for not only those training there but for the staff as well.

    “We’re just coming out to offer support to the troops out here. We’re feeding them some good food. We’re giving them some entertainment and just trying to lift their spirts in the Christmas season,” said Gina Turnas, a USO volunteer.

    Service members enjoyed a variety of events, such as a trailer with multiple video gaming systems, a rock-climbing wall and inflatable carnival games. This was the sixth event hosted by the USO and 642nd RSG. Starting in June they hosted events such as movies nights, a variety of cookoffs and a Thanksgiving dinner, to raise the morale of service members who are away from their families.

    “Everybody is so appreciative that they went out of their way to tell us how thankful they were for giving up our time to host events like this,” Turnas said.

    “Just looking out here at how much fun they’re having, it gets them to break free from that training environment it and enjoy themselves,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Miguel Sotomayor, assigned to the 642nd RSG. “It brings out the kid in them …You know it’s all business when they leave here, so I’m glad that they get some fun before they head out.”

    Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors enjoyed themselves well into the night and welcomed the distraction from their vigorous training schedule. From inflatable boxing to tug-of-war, to “Guitar Hero” and other video games, service members filled all the stations.

    “In the future, I’m hoping that we would be able to work with 5th Armored Training Brigade so we can get max participation (from all units training here) and coordinate events on days with better weather, which sometimes pushes Soldier to stay inside,” Sotomayor said.

    USO volunteers donated and manned all the carnival stations and food.
    To volunteer with the organization, visit uso.org.

    “I think it’s a wonderful organization to volunteer for what it does for our troops. They go above and beyond,” Turnas said. “The staff will basically work as long as they have to, as hard as they have to, in order to have events like this come off the ground and help support our (service members), which is what our (USO) mission is all about.”



    Date Taken: 01.05.2017
    Date Posted: 01.11.2017 16:44
    Story ID: 220146
    Location: MCGREGOR RANGE, NM, US 

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