USO Lounge Construction Begins At McCarran

Aug. 19, 2010


By November, the 55,000 troops and their families who travel through McCarran's International Airport will have a lounge to relax in while waiting for their flights.

Not since World War II has Nevada's busiest airport had a USO Lounge.

"To think that over the years we've had thousands and thousands of military come through this airport and have (had) no place for the military who are tired," said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

The USO will be housed inside US Airway's former lounge in the main terminal. Renovation of the space was kicked off with a ceremony Wednesday at the airport.

The Clark County Aviation Department paid $750,000 to relocate US Airway's lounge. Matching private funds brought the total amount to $1.5 million. The county is leasing the space to the USO at no cost for up to five years.

"I make trips from this airport all the time," Democratic Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada said. "It just breaks your heart having to see soldiers lie on the floor, crunched up in chairs, trying to take a nap, and you think 'they deserve better.'"

From the lounge, traveling service members will be able to step away from airport crowds to grab a snack, watch a movie or make a phone call home.

"Being deployed, think of that 40 hour (travel), flights change, flights get changed," said Col. Kevin Fox, who is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. Where's there a place that you can relax."

Wayne Newton, who has taken over USO duties from the late comedian Bob Hope, called the USO's newest lounge "a joy."

"It's time that we did something to thank our military people for the lifestyle that we have," Newton said.

The USO lounge has been in planning stages since 2005. It is scheduled to open on Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day.

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