SOURCE: SAN JOSE — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Skype today announced the Holiday Military Connection program, which will allow hundreds of American servicemen and women stationed overseas to have the unprecedented opportunity to join their families stateside for virtual visits this holiday season, thanks to a partnership between Skype and the USO.
The Holiday Military Connection program will connect troops in the Guam, Yokosuka, and Camp Hansen (Okinawa) USO centers with their families stateside, through live, face-to-face Skype video call conversations during Thanksgiving dinner. For the first time, deployed men and women will virtually share a holiday meal with the ones they love most, but from whom they are farthest.
In addition, the USO and Skype’s Holiday Military Connection program will enable the estimated 140,000 troops visiting the 18 Pacific Region USO centers to make free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls home to loved ones all season long. Troops can also make unlimited1 calls to family and friends’ cell phones and landlines free of charge through the donation of Skype’s Unlimited World subscription plans.
For some troops, many of whom will be returning from deployments on submarines or aircraft carriers, the live calls will mark the first time seeing their families in more than a year.
Skype’s partnership with the USO and the launch of the Holiday Military Connection program expand upon a successful trial program that started in May 2009, in which Skype donated calling plans to USO Pacific centers.
“The USO is focused on lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families; we are proud that Skype can play a pivotal role with the USO in helping connect military families and in turn make a season that is often challenging for them that much less difficult,” said Don Albert, VP and GM of Skype Americas. “Skype is committed to removing barriers and helping to foster meaningful connections that make a difference in people’s lives. Through the USO and Skype’s Holiday Military Connection program, we are doing just that for thousands of military families.”
As part of the Holiday Military Connection program, Skype is also giving away 2,000 holiday gift sets consisting of a headset, plus Skype calling credit or a Webcam to servicemen and women who visit a participating USO center during the week of Thanksgiving. The gift sets will allow troops to continue making memories with their families even after the holiday season is over.
“The USO is thrilled to partner with Skype on this amazing program. Staying in touch with friends and family is truly the best morale booster for troops who have been deployed. With Skype, we can help troops stay in touch all season long at no cost to them or their families,” said Tom Kolstad, USO Vice President for Pacific Operations. “We cannot wait to see the looks on the faces of the troops and their families when they share their meals face-to-face on Thanksgiving Day.”
Those interested in learning more about the program and how military families can connect with Skype can log onto the Holiday Military Connection program Website: www.skype.com/go/uso. Visitors to the site can also submit their own story of how they use Skype to stay connected.