The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Spring Tour Gets Off to a Great Start!

Four of today’s most talented figures in film, television and football are participating in a USO tour led by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.  Special guests James Gandolfini, Rose McGowan, Tony Sirico, and Jon Stinchcomb will visit with Troops, sign autographs, and more on this weeklong tour.

Admiral Mullen had this to say about his experiences with the USO: “I am delighted to once again be traveling with the USO and a great group of entertainers and celebrities who only want to give back to the troops.  It means a lot to me that they would take time out of their busy schedules to do this, but it means a great deal more to the men and women down range and in harm’s way. It’s going to be a great trip.”

Likewise, James Gandolfini – who is on his second trip – echoes that sentiment: “Our troops are some of the brightest and bravest men and women I’ve ever met.  Sadly, they don’t always get the appreciation and recognition they deserve.  The USO allows me the privilege to meet them in person, show them my gratitude and thank them for their service.”
Check out the first set of pictures from the tour!

Former "Sopranos" stars James Gandolfini (center, back row in green), and Tony Sirico (4th L back row) along with New Orleans Saints offensive tackle/Super Bowl XLIV champion Jon Stinchcomb (3rd L back row) pose with airmen and pilots during a USO meet and greet at an airfield in the Persian Gulf on March 29, 2010. The group is in the region as part of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

New Orleans Saints offensive tackle/Super Bowl XLIV champion Jon Stinchcomb has his picture taken with service members during a March 29, 2010, stop on aa seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. In 1966, the NFL teamed up with the USO and became the first sports organization to send a group of players to Vietnam and other parts of Asia, demonstrating the league's support for America's troops. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

Actors Tony Sirico (back row C) and James Gandolfini (back row 2nd R) along with New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb pose for a photo with the aircrew of a blackhawk helicopter during a seven-day overseas USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen March 28, 2010. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

Former "Sopranos" stars James Gandolfini (R) and Tony Sirico (C) are given a tour of an MRAP armored vehicle during a USO tour stop at a forward operating base in the Persian Gulf on March 28, 2010. In the region as part of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, this is the duo's second USO tour. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Actor and former "Sopranos" star Tony Sirico sits in the pilot's seat of a blackhawk helicopter on March 28, 2010, as part of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Sirico is touring with fellow "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb and actress Rose McGowan. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

Three-time Emmy winner James Gandolfini (c) poses for a photo with a soldier on March 29, 2010, during an overseas stop of a seven-day USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Avid supporter of the U.S. armed forces, Gandolfini produced an HBO documentary entitled "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" in 2007. Centered around ten Iraq veterans wounded in early to mid 2000, the piece debuted in September. (USO photo by Fred Greaves)

The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families heads stateside PLUS a New Initiative from Sesame Workshop

Young fans embraced their favorite furry red monster during a performance of the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families at RAF Mildenhall in England September 8, 2009. (USO Photo by Fred Greaves)

If you’re a regular blog reader, you’ve probably heard about and seen pictures from The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families tour that travel around the world.  Across nine countries and 76 military bases, thousands of military kids and their parents have enjoyed the performances of Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, Rosita and Zoe, beloved characters from the award-winning television series.

We’re thrilled to announce that The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families is back in the U.S. after an around-the-world tour.  The show, which is exclusively for military families, kicks off its second swing through the U.S. on April 17, at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

“There is no denying the positive impact this tour is having on our nation’s military community,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president.  “We listen to our troops and understand the challenges they face at home, and are proud to call Sesame Workshop our partner in helping to ease the daily stresses on military families.”  Bookmark this page for updated tour schedules and more.

The tour serves as an extension of traditional USO entertainment tours and a continuation of Sesame Workshop’s award-winning Talk, Listen, Connect initiative – which provides vital resources and emotional support to military families with young children coping with challenging transitions in their lives.

This partnership has been wonderful for the USO, as well as Sesame Workshop.  In his latest blog post, Sesame Workshop’s President and CEO Gary E. Knell has this to say: “One of the most rewarding parts about being here at Sesame Workshop is the honest ability to make a difference in this world. Five years ago, I was outraged at the lack of resources available to military families. Today, I’m proud that Sesame Street is able to help.”

Now, we’re proud to announce a new installment in this initiative, When Families Grieve, which will kick-off nationally with a one-hour televised special hosted by Katie Couric and airing on PBS stations (check local listings).  Beginning April 15, the multimedia, bi-lingual (English and Spanish) outreach kit will be available at www.sesamestreet.org/grief.

Outreach kits on the previous three installments of Talk, Listen, Connect are available on their website currently, and continue to make a difference in the lives of military children everywhere.  So set your DVRs, bookmark the website, and take a moment to watch a short video on last’s years unveiling of the “Deployments” kit…

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