USO of San Diego and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority have just opened the new USO Neil Ash Airport Center - the largest USO airport center in the world. The 10,000-square-foot facility is located on North Harbor Drive in Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport.
The USO is a special place for service members and their families, and USO airport centers are a place for them to rest and enjoy between flights.
Wednesday marked the grand opening of the new USO building at Lindbergh Field, the largest airport USO in the world.
The new state-of-the-art facility will replace the old USO center that's become cramped, even on a light day like Wednesday.
At the brand new center, workers and volunteers were busy preparing for their big opening all day.
"I'm super excited. We've been waiting at least two to three years to get this built, so I'm super excited and I think the community's super excited and certainly the military," said the center’s director, Bobby Woods.
This new center is almost 10,000-square-feet, and nearly double the size of the old one.
There's plenty of entertainment; from X-box games and a pool table that converts to air hockey or ping pong, to computer banks with Skype to call loved ones.
The center is fully equipped with Wi-Fi, and even has a special corner set up with a camera so troops can read books to their children and send them the DVD. For those who just want to kick back and get some San Diego sunshine, there’s a large outside patio to enjoy.
The USO estimates they’ll have around 11,000 visitors each month, and sometimes as many as 800 on a single day.
USO volunteer Andy Hedekin says he’s proud of his new USO home, and what it does for our troops while they're away from their home.
"It gives them a feeling of support - that they can get wherever they're going; that they can do it successfully. The feeling they get from us is a support it's a basic feeling, you have a home away from home when you get here," said Hedekin.
The USO is open to active duty service members and their families. The new center will be in full service beginning Thursday morning.