Brig. Gen. Jake Kwon, U.S. Army Reserve, signs the guestbook at the Pittsburgh International Airport's new USO center on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

New USO Lounge Opens at PIT

Service members, take a load off.

A new military lounge for active duty, reservists and military veterans opened Wednesday at Pittsburgh International Airport, in Concourse C. The new lounge is a partnership between the airport and the United Service Organizations (USO), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization catering to service members and their families.

“We are looking forward to welcoming men and women in uniform who travel through western Pennsylvania,” said Rebecca Parkes, USO Northeast Regional President, who attended the grand opening ceremony. “This USO airport center will allow us to bring a touch of comfort and home to those on their military journey.”

She lauded the partnership with PIT as a way to “work together toward a common goal – connection.”

The partnership “is a great addition to our region and the military community. Service members now have a dedicated space to relax before and after flights,” added Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

The USO provided special refreshments for guests and airport employees throughout the day. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

USO volunteers will manage the lounge and provide service members and their families with a home away from home experience while traveling through the airport. Amenities include complimentary wrapped snacks, beverages, $10 airport food voucher, fully reclining chairs, cable television, gaming system, WIFI, computer lab area and a children’s play area with toys.

The staff at the new USO will be busy. According to the census, more than 250,000 veterans call western Pennsylvania home, and 29% of them reside in Allegheny County. The region also has more than 3,000 active duty, reservist and Pennsylvania National Guard soldiers.

Pittsburgh Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) processes a monthly average of 200 recruits. Each recruit flies out of Pittsburgh International Airport to conduct basic training.

“The center will provide service members with a comfortable place to wait for flights and reconnect with loved ones while in transit,” said Travis McNichols, an Air Force veteran who now serves as senior vice president of Public Safety, Operations, and Maintenance for the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

“I’ve been a lifer in two ways,” said Brigadier General Jake Kwon of the 316th Sustainment Command, who attended the ceremony. “One, the obvious way by being in uniform for over two decades, but also being a lifer for the USO. So as a military dependent who later joined in uniform, I’ve been a longtime customer [of the USO] for 44 years.”

USO Grand Opening

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