Troops Reach Home Through USO's Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program
by U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Dengrier Baez
A parent reading a book to a child is one of the oldest American
household traditions. It is a memorable, bonding experience, for
both parent and child, which leaves lasting effects for a lifetime.
For those answering the call of duty in foreign lands, this
The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program,
hosted by the United Services Organization (USO), is the link that
makes it all possible. Service members currently deployed with Task
Force Southwest in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of the
NATO Resolute Support Mission, were recently able to use the program
during a scheduled USO visit.
The program allows service members deployed abroad to pick a
book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to
their child. Those who used it were impressed.
October 16, 2019 - U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Lance T. Matsumoto, a maintenance management officer, reads a book for his child during a Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program event hosted by the United Services Organization (USO) Afghanistan while deployed with Task Force Southwest in support of the Resolute Support Mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (U.S Marine Corps Photo by Staff Sgt. Dengrier Baez)
“I think this program is great in what it does for the families,”
said Chief Warrant Officer Lance T. Matsumoto, a maintenance
management officer with the task force. “The families, specifically
the children, can connect with parents deployed all over the world.”
According to the USO official website, the Bob Hope Legacy
Reading Program was created through a partnership between The Bob
Hope Legacy and the USO. From World War II through Vietnam to the
Gulf War – Bob Hope traveled the world, visiting remote outposts and
isolated battleships to provide entertainment and support our
nation’s service members and their families.
Today, the USO
mission continues providing the same services for troops abroad and
their families. Those serving in austere environments around the
world can still contribute to parenting at home through the reading
“My son is one and half and we’re always trying to
instill good traits in him like always telling the truth and being
accountable for your actions,” explained Capt. Nathaniel T. Lemons,
a deputy staff judge advocate with the task force. “The book I chose
to read demonstrates in a sort of fun way that lying never pays off
and it just gets other people in trouble, and it ends in a bigger
predicament for you.”
October 17, 2019 - U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Nathaniel T. Lemons, a deputy staff judge advocate, sorts through children’s books for his child during a Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program event hosted by the United Services Organization (USO) Afghanistan at while deployed with Task Force Southwest in support of the Resolute Support Mission in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Staff Sgt. Dengrier Baez)
The reading program has proven popular even with some bases being
outfitted with Wi-Fi or internet connectivity available for the
troops. It’s not only about staying connected, but the recording and
book are also provided for the family to be used whenever.
“You’re giving them a gift not only in the book but a gift of time
as a parent as well,” said Lemons. “It’s there permanently for them.
When my kid repeatedly says ‘dadda read book’, my wife plays the
video of me reading while they flip through the pages together. It’s
an amazing program and I recommend it.”
Resolute Support is the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan committed to
assisting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’
development of sustainable systems necessary for Afghanistan to
become more secure, safe, and stable.
United Service Organizations