TIKRIT, Iraq — As service members travel to and from their destinations for rest and relaxation from deployment, groups like the United Services Organization help to make their travel experience a little easier.
For Sgt. 1st Class Carl Manns, of South Bend, Ind., and a provost marshal office noncommissioned officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kan., being stuck at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport wasn't such a bad thing.
After realizing that he was going to be at the airport longer than expected to to some baggage delays, Sgt. 1st Class Manns said that he went to the airport's USO where he and seven other Soldiers were given free tickets to attend an NBA basketball game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns, Dec. 8.
"I was stuck in Dallas and while I was there, they told me that they had gotten free tickets from the general manager of the Dallas Mavericks," said Sgt. 1st Class Manns. "They asked me if I wanted to go to the game ... we went to the game and found out that it was a suite that was fully catered with food, anything you wanted to drink and a free dessert tray. Then, while we were up there the cheerleaders came up to visit us and then people from the other booths came over and started thanking us."
Along with experiencing the luxuries of the suite, Sgt. 1st Class Manns and the other Soldiers met 12 year NBA basketball star and the 1986 Slam Dunk champion, Anthony "Spud" Webb and were given the opportunity to take a tour around the Dallas Mavericks' arena. They even got to shoot around on the team's practice court.
Sgt. 1st Class Manns added that the experience was unlike any other travel experience he's ever had and suggests that all Soldiers who travel utilize the USO and all that it has to offer.
"As soon as they hit the Dallas airport, if they have a layover to go straight to the USO, and the USO will get you where you need to be on time," he said. "If you need to take a nap, they have a cots and will wake you up ... and they will [personally] walk you down there to make sure you get on [your flight], if you don't know where you're going. They're really squared away."
"Utilize the USO as much as possible," he concluded. "They're there to help you, and they'll be the first to tell you that."
This work, USO gives early holiday gift to traveling Soldiers, by SGT Shantelle Campbell, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.