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USO helps Airmen keep in touch

Master Sgt. Mike A. Schmaling, First Sergeant, 313th Air Expeditionary Wing, distributes telephone cards supplied by the Unformed Service Organization to Lt. Col. Kevin R. Shomin (left) and Staff. Sgt. Cody Sturgeon (middle) on July 11, 2011 at a base in Western Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. John P. Capra)

Master Sgt. Mike A. Schmaling, First Sergeant, 313th Air Expeditionary Wing, distributes telephone cards supplied by the Unformed Service Organization to Lt. Col. Kevin R. Shomin (left) and Staff. Sgt. Cody Sturgeon (middle) on July 11, 2011 at a base in Western Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. John P. Capra)

Western Europe -- The United Service Organization headquarters in Arlington, Va., donated 500 300-minute calling cards under "Operation Phone Home" to Master Sgt. Mike Schmaling, First Sergeant of the 313th Air Expeditionary Wing, in Western Europe on July 5, 2011.

"The USO certainly lived up to its mission with this donation," said Schmaling. "Many of our Airman and their families will have their spirits lifted by being able to talk to each other. There is nothing like hearing the voice of your loved one when you are miles away."

Schmaling is in the process of delivering these cards to his Airmen over the next few weeks, ensuring the wing's numerous sections and shifts receive them.

The mission of the USO is to lift the spirits of America's troops and their families.

The USO is a nonprofit, Congressionally chartered, private organization. The USO relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities. It is not part of the U.S. government, but is recognized by the Department of Defense, Congress and President of the United States, who serves as Honorary Chairman of the USO.

"Operation Phone Home" enables units to request various quantities of calling cards as needed.