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Waypointer explores Seattle-Tacoma airport's new USO lounge

June 18, 2016 (Photo Credit: Jon Anderson/Staff)








One Waypointer gives you the rundown on the USO Center at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

He's also helping to build Military Waypoint, the new online travel community exclusively for service members, veterans and their families.

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The 7,500-square-foot facility is open 24/7.
Photo Credit: Jon Anderson/Staff

Rest Easy At The Sea-Tac USO
Sea-Tac Airport, Washington

“Wow, this is the one of the best USOs I’ve ever seen,” declared my recently retired Air Force friend with more than 30 years of experience popping in and out of airport USO lounges around the world.

Indeed, if you find yourself passing through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better break from your travels than this USO Center tucked up on the mezzanine level, before security, just above the Southwest Airlines ticketing area.

Open 24/7, every day of the year, this new $1.5 million, 7,500-square-foot facility is more than twice as big as the lounge it replaced last year.

And this is far more than a glorified waiting area. Among the amenities here:

Real rest: First-class-style overstuffed easy chair seating is throughout, plus there’s a bunkroom with fresh linens for serious shuteye during longer layovers. There’s also a designated room just for families with little ones. In one corner, a mother with three young triplets somehow managed to keep things together taking advantage of that space.

The new USO Center offers relaxation, food and entertainment.
Photo Credit: Jon Anderson/Staff

Solid refreshment: A full-service kitchen provides a continuous flow of meals, drinks and snacks while shower facilities will help wash away the miles.

Serious entertainment: Loads of big-screen TVs, gaming consoles and a movie theater. There’s also free Wi-Fi, as well as laptops and printers. Meanwhile, a large checked storage room ensures you can stash your bags without worrying about them if you want to wander the airport without lugging everything around.

Oh, and those hardwood floors? That’s teak decking salvaged from the battleship Colorado (BB-45), which took part in most of the island-hopping battles across the Pacific during World War II.

It’s a fitting way to recycle the wood, serving one of the main gateways for troops and their families on their way to and from assignments in Japan and Korea.

On display throughout the center is also one of the best collections of unit and morale patches and challenge coins you’re likely to find anywhere.

And best of all, it’s all completely free.

The USO Center is open to all active-duty personnel, 100 percent disabled veterans, retirees and their families, as well as Guard/Reserve/Defense Department employees on orders.

The only thing the USO doesn’t offer is booze. Conveniently, however, there are several bars and restaurants nearby, including the aviation-themed Pilot House just below the USO.

— Jon R. Anderson, Military Times contributor 

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