By DCNG Public Affairs
(April 12, 2022) - The D.C. National Guard (DCNG) and the USO National Capital District today opened the nation’s first permanent USO lounge located in a National Guard armory. The lounge in the Family Readiness Suite at the D.C. Armory, 2001 East Capitol Street SE in the District, is the first in a pilot program designed to put USO facilities in National Guard Readiness Centers nationwide.
“Most USO centers are at regular Army or regular Air Force organizations,” said Maj. Michael Robinson, DCNG director of Family Programs. “The National Guard Soldier (or Airman) doesn’t get exposed to the USO service.”
With the National Guard performing missions around the world continuously for the past three decades and with Guard members regularly called on to help state and local governments in times of emergency, the ability of the USO to address the needs of Guard Soldiers, Airmen and families at home station readiness centers serves an underserved military population.
“For our part, Capital Guardians have spent some 220 days in the last two years alone on missions supporting local and federal partners here in the District,” said Army Brig. Gen. Aaron Dean, DCNG adjutant general. “Putting permanent lounges in National Guard readiness centers demonstrates the USO’s long-standing commitment to service members and their families.”
Like other USO lounges, the facility features big-screen televisions, computers, wi-fi, Xbox game consoles, board games and snacks. The lounge will open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends when National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have their monthly drills.
Chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson and his wife, Kelly, joined Dean, Robinson and USO National Capital District executive director Lisa Marie Riggins for today’s ribbon cutting.
“We’re not regular Army or Air Force, but we’re busy,” said Robinson. “We stay busy, and we appreciate the USO.”
For more information on DCNG Family Programs, visit https://dc.ng.mil/Resources/Soldier-Airman-Family-Support/. For more information on the USO in the Washington, D.C. area, visit https://metro.uso.org/.