That is how our Families view the milestone that is a halfway point during deployments. It is a pivotal moment of relief and excitement for families. Unlike some business trips that may only take our loved one away from us for short periods of time, Deployments can take Service Members away from their loved ones for periods sometimes longer than a year. On “shorter” deployments these halfway points can mark 4 or 5 months completed and signify the upcoming end to challenges such as being the sole caretaker at home, missing an extra set of hands to run errands, Holidays celebrated but incomplete without them. The list goes on. And that is why this moment is pivotal for morale. Families look forward to a demarcation of hope. Spouses celebrate with a fancy meal out or a day of fun with the kids. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not been promising for these gatherings. A lot of venues shut down or were unable to provide room for family gatherings. Step in USO JBPHH. After a phone call from a disillusioned spouse asking if we had a facility that an FRG (Family Readiness Group) could hold a halfway night, our team started getting creative and thinking outside of the box…literally. With the USO Centers projector and blow-up movie screen we took this request outdoors where we could accommodate and socially distance families whilst keeping them together. And boy did they love this! We started with the USS Illinois; a Virginia class nuclear Submarine stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Our Submarine community is unlike other Naval communities. Their Service Members are disconnected months at a time from their families, so unity is a huge support network for the loved ones left ashore. After the Illinois Halfway Movie Night, word spread quickly that there was still a way to connect as families to celebrate the midway point of Deployment, and since the USO has hosted Halfway Movies for the USS Jefferson City, USS Halsey, USS Springfield, USS Chafee, the 735th Air Mobility Squadron and the USS Michael Murphy. This program has been an amazing opportunity to celebrate the Unity in our Military Communities. We are so grateful that the team could be innovative and continue to connect families during such a difficult time. Watching families come together and celebrate hope is the most rewarding experience the USO JBPHH team could ever ask for. Thank you all for your Service!
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