A Place for Travelling Troops to Rest
The Bob Hope USO Ontario has the second largest USO facility in the Uinited States and has been a great place for traveling service men and women to rest and unwind. Chartered planes for troops can fly directly to the old Ontario terminal which the Bob Hope USO Ontario has used for almost a decade. Military on non-chartered flights can take a free shuttle from the airport to the old terminal and back. Althoough they always service incoming chartered flights with troops, this past June they have been serving large amounts of Marines. Center Manager Kristen Ramirez said by the end of the month (June at the time of this writing) they’ll see 6,000 Marines come through the center, and possibly around another 1,000 servicemen from other branches as well.
Every soldier is happy to unwind once they touch town. Ramirez said they serve active duty military monthly. They take chartered flights whether those are from Southwest, United Charter Flight or it could be a relatively unknown chartered flight from Sun Country Atlas. Usually they get troops passing through on their way for pre-deployment training but sometimes it could be soldiers going home on leave.
“Often they’ve been training for 4-6 weeks out in the desert whether that be 29 Palms at Camp Wilson or Fort Irwin”. “So they’ve just been living off of MRE’s and limited resources and facilities as far as bathroom facilities. So they get here, we’re going to feed them and then they just want to sleep. They want to relax; they want to decompress. They have 10,000 square feet to do that in here.”
In the 10,000 square feet of the old Ontario terminal they have a quiet room with many recliners, pillows and blankets where they can just shut the door and sleep. After sleep, there is a media room where they can watch cable or browse cabinets filled with DVDs. There is a computer room with wireless Internet that they can use for Skype, Facebook completing online college homework and they can print boarding passes if they still need them. There is also a game room with a pool table, a ping pong table, air hockey and foosball. There is also a family room in case their family is on a layover. It has children’s coloring books, games movies and a portable play pen. For meetings there is a library. They can also enjoy food and beverages provided. Since chartered flights land at the old Ontario terminal, soldiers don’t have to deal with long lines or the TSA. They can walk straight from their planes into the center with their M-16’s when it’s time to go.
Usually Ramirez gets advanced notice on incoming flights, but sometimes they don’t as it’s often for security reasons. One time they were about to lock up for the night when a plane touched down for refueling. Airport operations were not notified about it. Ramirez and volunteersquickly started barbecuing hot dogs for 158 starving and grateful Seabees walking off the plane to them.
The Bob Hope USO Ontario was rated No.1 in the nation as a small USO seeing the most troops. They were voted on by service men and women back in April. Althrough a small USO, they have the second largest USO facility in the nation.