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That's my dress!

Operation That's My Dress

Attendees find a dress during the "Operation That's My Dress" event Sept. 18, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The event allows military personnel and spouses an opportunity for a free ball gown, as well as learning about the different military balls and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Erwin)

Operation That's My Dress

Attendees find a dress during the "Operation That's My Dress" event Sept. 18, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The event allows military personnel and spouses an opportunity for a free ball gown, as well as learning about the different military balls and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Erwin)

Operation That's My Dress

Attendees chat before the start of the "Operation That's My Dress" event Sept. 18, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The event allows military personnel and spouses an opportunity to get a free ball gown, and provides information about the different military balls and traditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Erwin)

Operation That's My Dress

Molly West, founder of the Sakura Seminar Okinawa, performs an icebreaker exercise with attendees at the "Operation That's My Dress" event Sept. 18, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The event allowed spouses and military personnel the chance to learn military ball traditions and leave with a ball gown donated for the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Erwin)

Operation That's My Dress

Thomas Gadbois, USO Pacific Regional Expeditionary Operations Manager (left), and Dr. Tamara Owens, USO Foster Center Manager (right), explain the Air Force ball tradition of the 'party shirt' to attendees at the "Operation That's My Dress" event Sept. 18, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The event allowed spouses and military personnel the chance to learn military ball traditions and leave with a ball gown donated for the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Erwin)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

Military ball season gives a chance for active duty members and spouses to dress up and show pride in their respective branch of service. Whether you’re Air Force and only have one per year, or the Marine Corps and have multiple, each chance to get in your dress uniform celebrates a proud part of one’s heritage. For the first time overseas, on Sept. 18, 2018, USO Okinawa was able to bring this event to the island at the Kadena Rocker Enlisted Club.

The USO has had a special event running in the continental US known as “Operation That’s My Dress” for the past few years to give active duty members and spouses a chance to get a free ball gown, which is often one of the major expenses of attending a military ball. The event also gives attendees a chance to learn about the different military traditions with each respective ball, such as etiquette and the series of events for the evening, as well as a chance to meet with different beauty vendors for their hair, makeup and other needs in preparation for the big night.

“Bringing Operation That’s My Dress overseas was important to fill a need that exists on Okinawa,” said Bari Wald, USO Okinawa area programs manager. “There are more than 50 military balls over a three-month period, and with limited dress options on island and limited shipping options, we felt that this program could provide that connection piece to the fashion of home for those in need of a gown to celebrate our services’ birthdays.”

The event follows along the line of the USO’s work – to help provide service members and families with the comforts of home.

“The USO’s mission is about connection,” said Amber Craig, USO Okinawa field programs coordinator. “Living overseas can be hard for many service members and their spouses. This event allowed us to bring service members and military spouses together to a day of fashion and friendship.”

This is one of many major events the USO puts on for the island, including the Service Salute Gala, Special Delivery baby showers, and Color Blast 5k events.

“Our mission statement is key in explaining why events like this are so important,” Craig said. “The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.”

 

For more info about what the USO can offer, visit https://okinawa.uso.org/