Posted on Jan 10, 2019
Ann Jarvis and Tracy Genika presented their great work in growing the Camp Pendleton USO from an idea to a thriving organization in the past year — one that will dedicate its new central facility March 19 on base. They shared how the organization made famous by the likes of entertainers Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Nancy Sinatra and, more recently, Kid Rock, Daughtry (whose lead guitarist, Josh Steely, is a Carlsbad resident) and Carrie Underwood, has grown to 200+ locations — including 45 airport centers — and 30,000 volunteers.
They also shared how Camp Pendleton’s USO is the first (amazingly) on a U.S. Marine Corps Base, there to serve the 100,000 service members and families on base every day. They’ve been operating out of a mobile unit, serving a base larger than the state of Rhode Island. Now, with the new facility to open March 19, USO will have its permanent CamPendleton headquarters.
Ann and Tracy spelled out a dozen programs currently operating on base, from Operation Happy Birthday to Command Support, from Pancake Breakfasts to the USO Country Jamboree, Spouse Mixer meet-and-greets for loved ones of deployed Marines, and their big-time “Welcome Home” parties for returning servicemen. They also discussed the Pathfinder Program, a transition program for service members and their families upon leaving the military. Service members receive 1-on-1 support from Pathfinder scouts, and are eligible to participate from one year prior to leaving to one year after. Leaving the military is daunting for many, especially after so many overseas wartime deployments, so the Pathfinder program has become both a Godsend and a life-saver to some.
The other event — that had more than one Rotarian rushing up afterward with business cards in hand — is the Marine Corps Trials, presented by the Wounded Warriors Retraining Program. It is basically the Olympic Trials for severely injured, amputee and other wounded servicemen. The 10-day, 15-event competition begins March 26 — and the Carlsbad Rotary Club was asked about volunteering. Competitions include basketball, archery, cycling, swimming, and many others. The USO provides all support and entertainment. Look for a sign-up sheet soon on this one, or directly email Ann Jarvis ( or Tracy Genika ( Lisa Giacomini will also know more.
Finally, Ann and Tracy shared the ways in which Rotarians — and civilians in general — can further assist the USO’s massive mission: provide donations-in-kind; or become a program or event sponsor at a number of levels available on the main website (http://www/
Many thanks to Lisa Giacomini for bringing the USO to Carlsbad Rotary. Lisa has been highly involved with USO as a volunteer, also helping Tracy and others with home acquisition both on- and off-base.