Northwest Military Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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February 5, 2015 at 8:52am

USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center before and after photographs

USO Northwest unveiled its new SeaTac Airport Center on the airport's Mezzanine level Feb. 4. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

USO Northwest unveiled its new SeaTac Airport Center on the airport's Mezzanine level yesterday. The new center offers better food services, sleeping accommodations, showering facilities and even separate family areas and bag storage.

It will be open for servicemembers and their families Feb. 14.

Kevin Knodell covered the new SeaTac Airport Center unveiling, talked to dignitaries, interviewed volunteers and snapped photos.

The new center is nothing short of impressive. They went from a space that was roughly 3,400 square feet to a space that's around 7,000 square feet. The change has allowed them to triple their occupancy.

There are plenty of new amenities and upgrades. The new bathrooms have showers, most of which are handicap accessible for wounded veterans. Soda and drinks that once cost money are now complementary.

Read Knodell's full report here.

Knodell also took comparison photos of the old and new space. Enjoy.

>>> The Front Desk

>>>The Baggage Area

>>> The Dining Area

>>> The Lounge Area

Filed under: USO, Military, Photo Hot Spot,

November 8, 2014 at 11:11pm

Seahawks mural unveiled at new USO Northwest Center at SeaTac Airport

Servicemembers from local military branches posed in front of a large-scale 12th Man flag that hid a new Seattle Seahawks mural for an unveiling at the new USO Northwest SeaTac Center Nov. 7. Photo credit: Gary Lott

At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sgt. 1st Class Bryant Hargrove spends long days recruiting new members for the U.S. Army.

At home, Hargrove's wife spends long nights trying to recruit the soldier into the 12th Man army.

"It's always a great experience going to Seahawks games and I'm coming along," said Hargrove. "I may not be a fully-converted fan just yet, but I've been supporting the 12th man a little more than my friends and family expect."

He was one of the dozens of servicemembers from all branches present for the Seahawks mural unveiling at the new USO Northwest Center at the SeaTac International Airport Center Friday, Nov. 7.

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Bryant Hargrove, a U.S. army recruiter based at JBLM, shows off some of the new Bose speakers and other Seahawks swag donated for the Internet Café inside the new USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center. Photo credit: Gary Lott

It's hard to ignore the excitement of Seahawks football.

"It just shows support. I remember when I was in Iraq and my XO was still the biggest Seahawks supporter," said Hargrove. "Knowing that we get all that support back and that the entire organization recognizes the military and all that we do, is truly special."

The theme of community, bonding and support is front and center in the halls of the new USO center.

>>> A U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest member takes a moment to reflect on the USO "Every Moment Counts" campaign at USO Northwest SeaTac Center Nov. 7. The campaign honors servicemembers and highlight the moments that matter most for troops and their loved ones. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Each tile on this wall represents some form of remembrance and/or contribution made to the new 7,500 sq. ft. USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"It's a community bonding event," said Staff Sgt. Charles Spencer of the Washington National Guard while tightly gripping a signed Doug Baldwin football. "There are a lot of fans in this area and a lot of military members, so it's nice to overlap the two and see the outpouring level of support for the military and local community."

These types of high-exposure events work well at shining some light on military efforts.

"It highlights some of the important things that just a small portion of our United States military does for us," said Spencer. "The Seahawks constantly help to bring those to the forefront."

>>> Staff Sgt. Charles Spencer of the Washington National Guard joins Seagal cheerleaders in front of a 12s Seahawks-supporting flag. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Servicemembers from local military branches posed in front of a large-scale 12th Man flag that hid a new Seattle Seahawks mural for an unveiling at the new USO Northwest SeaTac Center Nov. 7. Photo credit: Gary Lott

If it were up to the USO Northwest Center staff, they would've had thousands of people attend the mural unveiling, but decided to keep some of the surprises for the grand opening in February 2015.

"We were debating on if we should have 3,000 or just 300 people here for this event, but we decided to stick with 300 since we will be unveiling the whole center here in a couple of months."

>>> Tech Sgt. Conner Welborn of Joint Base Lewis-McChord smiles with his two little Seahawk supporters during a Seahawks mural unveiling event at the USO Northwest SeaTac Airport Center Nov. 7. Photo credit: Gary Lott

USO Northwest at SeaTac International Airport Center will host a grand opening celebration in February 2015.

"I'm standing here with Blitz (the Seahawks Mascot) and it's a wonderful moment for the USO," said USO Northwest Executive Director Don Leingang. "When we moved here, we knew that we are never moving again."

Liengang was referring to the new USO Northwest Center down the hall from the existing one at SeaTac Airport.

"We're gonna be here forever and forever happens only because you have great partners," he added.

The USO staff was ready to upgrade in size.

"We were busting at the seams," said Bill Baker, Service Center manager for the USO Northwest Center.  

Through an agreement and donation from the Port of Seattle, the center will open up in a new, 7,500 square foot center to better support the movements and travels of more than 100,000 servicemembers every year.

>>> A Super Bowl ring magically finds its way on a Coast Guard servicemember's finger at the new USO Northwest SeaTac Center. The Seahawks adopted the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest as their military service branch for 2014. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"(Seattle Seahawks) is an organization that supports the troops," said Baker. "Their Salute to Service campaign for this month is providing 10 percent of all proceeds from Salute to Service clothing wear back to the USO Northwest. It's just a way for them to say thank you for the service that our servicemembers do - day in and day out. They know that we will be here to do that 24/7 and that this community really does value and support the service that they do for our country, day in and day out."

Filed under: USO, Army, National Guard, Ceremony, Sports,

February 7, 2014 at 1:49pm

USO Northwest SeaTac Center goes old school

Petty Officer 1st Class William McKenna carries a piece of the USS Colorado, followed by a TSA agent, USO Northwest volunteer of the Year Doug Hoople and Patriot Guard Riders. Photo courtesy of USO Northwest

This morning the new USO Northwest SeaTac Center received the teak decking of the WWII battleship USS Colorado (BB-45) donated by Boeing. There were more then 75 people in attendance, including TSA, Port of Seattle representatives, Boeing employees, USO volunteers and board and two crewmembers from the USS Colorado with their families.

Read more...

Filed under: Ceremony, USO, Military, News To Us,

January 16, 2014 at 9:49am

Watch the Seahawks NFC Championship game at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Illustration courtesy of Seattle Seahawks Facebook

Ready for some football this weekend? The USO Northwest is ... and its also ready to host a Seattle Seahawks viewing party for Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers, airmen and families who want to watch the local team take on the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship.

"We have a great relationship with the Seattle Seahawks, you could say we're each other's 12th Man. The USO Northwest is proud to cheer them on in this playoff game and we look forward to sharing our 12th Man spirit with those who come to our viewing party," said Meaghan Cox, USONW Communications and IT lead.

Admission is free and there will be food and drinks available throughout the game at no cost. The Seahawks and 49ers rivalry will be showcased on all three large televisions and there will also be a raffle each quarter, giving away prizes like iTunes gift cards, Halo Reach games for XBOX 360 and other DVDs.

The party will start 30 minutes before kick off at 3 p.m. Sunday in The Shali Center, which is in Building 1183, next to the passenger terminal, on McChord Field.

May 20, 2013 at 11:40am

USO Northwest's Red, White & Blue Golf Classic celebrity sightings

Edgar Martinez will play the the USO Northwest's 18th Annual "Red, White & Blue Golf Classic" Tuesday, May 21. Photo courtesy of marinersblog.mlblogs.com

For those of you who read northwestmiloitary.com on your smartphone while waiting for the slow guy to putt know the USO Northwest's 18th Annual "Red, White & Blue Golf Classic" is tomorrow. Word just came down on the schedule celebrity participation. Seattle sports legends Mack Strong, Edgar Martinez, Dave Henderson, Nesby Glasgow, Randall Morris and Alonzo Mitz are scheduled to tee off at The Golf Club at Newcastle.

The golf tournament, dinner and auction benefiting USO Northwest and local active-duty military, military families and veterans. Based on past years, USO Northwest expects to raise $300,000 that will help fund the operation of USO centers at Sea-Tac Airport and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and the USO Mobile Canteen RV.

Filed under: Sports, USO,

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