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State's only USO fighting to stay open

Wisconsin's only USO is fighting to stay alive at a time when the troops and families it serves will need it most.

Milwaukee has had a USO chapter for 34 years, boosting the troops' morale and meeting their families' recreational needs.

But the group decided to fold last month because it could not meet a national requirement to have a center where military families can watch TV, use computers and such.

But now, the Milwaukee USO is fighting back and it's asking the national organization for more time to comply.

More families than ever will need the state's USO next spring, when about half the state's Army National Guard gets called to Iraq.

The non-profit group provides assistance to military families and gives them free tickets to museums and events in the area.

But it does things for troops outside Milwaukee, too, like helping an Eau Claire family with home repairs while one of its members was overseas.

The state's USO runs out of a small office at Milwaukee's War Memorial. It has a $25,000 annual budget, all from donations.