Approximately 56,000 American citizens live in and around the region of Kaiserslautern. One of the first stops for the new arrivals is the USO. For 75 years, the non-profit organization has been supporting American military members and their families throughout the world. The USO could not fulfill its mission without the support of many generous sponsors and volunteers. One of the USO’s many missions is to ease the military members’ start in a new environment by bringing them closer to their respective host nations, thereby promoting mutual understanding.
A very special program is available for American military and family members in and around Kaiserslautern. Together with the Marketing Association “Kaiser in Lautern,” the USO executes weekly city tours. A USO escort accompanies newly arrived guests on a tour through Kaiserslautern, introducing them to important institutions and sights as well as businesses and services.
In addition, once a month, the USO offers orientation tours under the motto “Willkommen in Kaiserslautern,” during which the highlights of the region are featured. These include such things as visits to the Garden Show and a tour through the underground tunnels of the former Casimir Palace, as well as outings to the most important events like Swinging Lautern, KL — Classics, the Lauterer carnival and the Christmas market. A visit to the weekly market is also a rewarding destination. Several institutions support the USO with a financial contribution toward transportation and entrance fees and shopping bags.
Through their support, the businesses and institutions want to show their hospitality and encourage the Americans to make regular visits to the city of Kaiserslautern. The following businesses participated in this cooperation: SWK Municipal Works Kaiserslautern, Kreissparkasse Kaiserslautern, ECE- K in Lautern, the marketing association Kaiser in Lautern, City Management of the City of Kaiserslautern, Tourist Information, as well as the Gartenschau Kaiserslautern — iKL-Gemeinnuetzige Intergrationsgesellschaft — and Vicari busses.
In retrospect, in 2015, the USO organized 62 city and orientation tours, during which more than 2,000 American military and family members could be welcomed in the city of Kaiserslautern. Similar results are expected for 2016.
While USO will stop trips to other cities and countries by the end of the year, through the general support of Kaiserslautern’s businesses and institutions, this special program and opportunity will continue.