Adm. Scott Swift speaks during a luncheon where the United Services Organization (USO) provided an update on future plans throughout the Pacific. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian Wilbur)

PEARL HARBOR - Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, expressed his appreciation for the work and support of the United Services Organization (USO) during a working luncheon, May 11.

“The USO is a critical partner in everything we do here in the Pacific because it is all about people,” Swift said during the event at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “People ask me what is the most important resource that I have assigned to me and, without a doubt, the answer is Sailors and their families. That is exactly what the USO is charged with supporting and exactly why the USO is so important.”

The luncheon provided local programming updates to the USO council and addressed future plans and strategy throughout the region.

“This is the 75th year of the USO. As we build upon the great support of the past and all of the things the USO has provided to our forces in the conflicts around the globe, we are looking forward to the next 75 years,” said Charles K. Hyde, USO Pacific regional vice president. “Admiral Swift is a great supporter of the USO and his words reinforce the fact that it really is all about relationships and it’s about taking care of our Sailors and their families within the Fleet.”

USO Hawaii impacts over 100,000 service members and their families every year. Locally, within the Wounded Warrior Detachments, Tripler Hospital and the Fisher House, more than 250 volunteers provide over 25,000 hours of volunteering every year on Oahu and the Big Island.

“We keep service members connected,” said Carlos Rowe, USO Hawaii Center director. “In today’s operational tempo, our service members are deployed throughout the world and the USO wants to be there for them where ever they may go.”

The USO is a nonprofit, congressionally chartered, private organization that depends upon the donations and generosity of the American public to support and fund programming. Although the USO is not technically a part of the U.S. government, it is recognized by the Department of Defense and Congress as well as the President of the United States, who serves as Honorary Chairman of the USO.