Bethesda Ready to Unveil New USO Warrior, Family Care Center

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar. 31, 2014 - Naval Support Activity Bethesda looks forward to the newest United Service Organizations facility opening which will enhance the installation's ability to care for troops, said Navy Capt. David A. Bitonti, commander of NSA Bethesda.

"We're very excited about the USO facility opening on Naval Support Activity Bethesda," Bitonti said. "This facility is a phenomenal addition to our ability to provide the full range of care and support to, not only our wounded warriors, our patients [and] their families, but also our staff."

"It's a wonderful partnering opportunity that the USO has agreed to do along with us here on the installation," he added.

The biggest benefit, he said, is that the center will provide new opportunities for staff, patients, wounded warriors and their families.

Bitonti described the features of the new facility, set to open April 1, which includes a full kitchen, living room-like area with a fireplace, multi-functional community room with 180-person capacity, therapeutic art Studio, NFL Lounge complete with video games, a Charlie Sheen-sponsored music room, and healing garden.

"In this 16,000 or so, square-foot facility and the garden space behind it," Bitonti said, "we have the ability to do pretty much everything and anything you would do if you were back home wherever you may have come from."

"I think that's probably one of the biggest things that the USO has done," he said. "Their whole mantra has always been about bringing a piece of home to the service member and their families, and I think this facility is a shining example of that."

Bitonti noted the USO's warrior and family care center is a "critical contribution" to helping rehabilitate troops.

"The patients, the families, the staff -- they have their eight or 10-hour-a-day job of either healing or providing the healing or providing the support to those that are healing," he said. "But it's that whole rest of the day where you need the opportunity to rest, to recover, to re-energize to get ready for the next day's set of events so that then you can heal as quickly as possible."

This facility is a great example of the ability to provide opportunities for people to re-energize to do better at their everyday jobs, he said.

Bitonti lauded the USO for providing an "exciting" opportunity to partner with the installation to provide the very best care for their patients, wounded warriors, their families, and the base's staff.

"We're really proud to be a part of it," he said. "And we're very thankful to the USO and their supporters for supporting us in that way."