The United Service Organizations Inc., better known as the USO, is a nonprofit organization most famous for bringing entertainment to United States service members while overseas. Comedians such as Bob Hope and Robin Williams are well known for having visited troops on numerous occasions. Recently the USO brought Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band to Okinawa. The USO Okinawa service salute is when the organization honors seven enlisted service members from the U.S. Armed Forces and Japan Self-Defense Forces. They also give awards to members of the local Okinawan community. For the last few years I’ve photographed the event and taken pics of the attendees. If you attended the event and stopped for a portrait you can download your photos from Dropbox here: www.tinyurl.com/z7v8qps
At the moment, active duty military on Okinawa must be back on base before 11pm. As midnight approached on New Year’s Eve, the normally busy Park Avenue in Okinawa City was like a ghost town. It’s interesting to note that there seemed to be no Japanese in the area also. Park Avenue really needs a makeover if it’s to compete with other areas for business. At Music Town young Japanese were taking part in a rap dance battle, while in Chatan thousands had gathered to watch a fireworks display. Not surprising really that Park Avenue was left empty.