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Soldier who joined military for access to USO Lounges questioning life choices

CHARLOTTE, N.C.— A soldier in the bathroom of the USO Lounge at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport was reportedly screaming, “What have I done?” over and over again for several hours last Thursday.

Lounge attendant James Abrams says the screaming began at 8am and continued through noon with only small breaks for loud sobbing.

The soldier was identified as Pfc. Robert Bamford by his travel buddy, Pfc. Steven Albright. Albright stood close to the door knocking intermittently and asking if he was ok.

Albright informed the concerned active duty and veterans on hand that Bamford primarily enlisted in the military “because he wanted access to the USO.”

The USO lounge is a space that provides military veterans a place to relax during long layovers. Visitors enjoy some free snacks, and a chance to put the unattended children of some colonel in their place with an ass-whooping in Call of Duty.

“He hated layovers so much and wanted access to the lounge,” says Albright. “Now we’re here at the airport, just waiting for our flight to head over to Afghanistan on our first deployment, when he just started screaming.”

Bamford’s parents were contacted to see if there was any way to get him out of the lounge so that the retirees on their way to Florida could enjoy the free hot dogs and continue telling the same war stories over and over again.

The parents told staffers who called that Bamford had a history of “volunteering so he’d get some perks,” only to break down in tears when it was time to earn them.

“One time he signed up to go bungee jumping because they gave you a really cool t-shirt after the jump,” says his mother.

“Or that time he volunteered at a nursing home to get WWE RAW tickets. He cried a lot then, too.”

The USO lounge experienced a brief sense of hope when Bamford stepped out of the bathroom around 1030, but were quickly disappointed when he went over to get some free peanut butter crackers and returned to the bathroom.

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Only USO lounge I ever saw was in Chicago, of course that was decades ago, before it was ‘cool and neat’ to like non-family service members in public.


Yeah, I know that Pfc Bamford. He was neighbors with my friends’ sister who married my neigbors’ son, and the wedding reception was down to the HOA Rec Center. Bamford showed up for the free refreshments. He’s a total REMF, and a wannabe. This story sounds just like him.

Yeah, the USO has made me question my life choices a few times as well. After I retired (27 years, 8 months), I went into DoD contracting as an IASO. Had to investigate an airman who absconded with another service member’s debit card and quickly went shopping, picking up four tires and an assortment of other items of immediate use when he redeployed home. I questioned that assignment life choice while using encase on his drive, tracking his movements, got fully inside of the chain of custody. My choice was reaffirmed when he plead no contest to the charges against… Read more »

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