Brees, Miller, and Edwards Wrap Up a Fantastic USO Tour

New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees perpares to go long, March 28, 2010. Here the Super Bowl champion engages in a friendly competition, "Great Quarterback Shootout," with Sailors and Marines of the USS Nassau. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

As their latest tour ended, NFL stars Drew Brees, Billy Miller, and Donnie Edwards took some time to reflect on the experience.  Enjoy their words and their pictures, too!

Drew Brees: “It has been a big year for the Saints. We played hard all season and along the way fulfilled a lifelong dream. And now it’s time for us to celebrate our victory with troops serving overseas. I look forward to heading out on what will be my fifth USO tour and to focusing on what matters most – those who volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way for us each and every day: our troops.”

Billy Miller: “To me, going out on USO tours and spending time with troops is not about traveling to different countries, or losing out on time with my family during the off season. It is about lifting spirits at various military outposts and gaining time with our men and women in uniform. I just wish everyone had this opportunity.”

Donnie Edwards: “If it weren’t for our Armed Forces, I wouldn’t know what it was like to have the freedom to vote, much less play football professionally. We, as Americans, owe them our respect and our time. And one of the many ways I honor them is by working with the USO and going out on tours to convey my appreciation.”

Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees (center), NFL veteran Donnie Edwards (left of Brees) and Saints tight end Billy Miller (right of Brees) poses with members of the 39th Security Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, March 24, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton.)

New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees signs this fans Indianapolis Colts blanket, March 28, 2010. Hundreds of Sailors and Marines, of the USS Nassau, came out to visit the Super Bowl champion. Brees is joined by teammate Billy Miller and NFL player Donnie Edwards, the trio will visit troops in Africa, Turkey and the Persian Gulf. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL and USO tour veteran Donnie Edwards signs an autorgraph for Marines and Sailors of the USS Nassau, March 28, 2010. Edwards is joined by fellow NFL players Drew Brees and Billy Miller, this marks the third USO tour for the trio, who will visit troops in Africa, Turkey and the Persian Gulf. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Sailors and Marines of the USS Nassau lined up to meet NFL players Drew Brees, Billy Miller and Donnie Edwards, March 28, 2010. Hundreds of troops lined-up for an opportunity to meet and get autographs from the NFL trio, who are participating in their third USO tour together. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

(L to R) NFL's Billy Miller, Drew Brees and Donnie Edwards pose for photos with members of Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Four stationed in Dubaii on March 27, 2010. This is the trio's third USO tour. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards (R) signs an autograph for U.S. Navy Gunners Mate Second Class Marvin Leon Ford, Jr. while in Dubaii on March 27, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Football's "Most Valueable Player" Drew Brees (R) poses for a photo with PS2 Lisa Dadurn of Pensacola, FL during a USO visit to Dubaii on March 27, 2010. While taking the picture, Brees holds up "Flat Stanley", a project of Dadura's second grade neice in Ft. Worth, TX. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

To Infinity…and Beyond

USO Centers are located around the world, serving Troops and their families in over 140 locations. But is that enough? We recently asked ourselves, Is there a location not being served? Where can the USO boldly go?

One word: Space. How illogical not to serve those who serve us, even at an intergalactic level, we thought. That’s why we’re proud to announce two new initiatives: the building of a USO Center on the International Space Station (ISS) and the expansion of our USO2Go program to include USO2GO: Lunar Module.

NASA and the U.S. Military have a long history, with military training being one of the surest ways to get to pilot a spacecraft. Active duty military are some of the top recruits to the astronaut program. So it just made sense to extend our reach into space.

The new USO Center on the International Space Station will feature all the comforts of home, including iPod equipped space helmets.

Admiral Ackbar – current commander of the ISS – is thrilled at the prospect of a USO Center on board: “Many of our crew members are stuck all today conducting science experiments.  The chance to relax with the comforts of home – albeit in a zero gravity environment – is a huge morale booster.  We especially like that the USO will stock butter pecan – in addition to the traditional Neapolitan flavor – of Space Ice Cream.”

When deciding to expand our programs and services we consulted numerous experts, including world-renowned physician Dr. McCoy, who had this to say about the importance of serving every individual possible: “In this galaxy there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all that, and perhaps more…only one of each of us.”

USO2GO: Lunar Module ensures that when we colonize the moon in the future, inhabitants will have essential things like Guitar Hero and snacks.

General Grievous said he’d been asking for something like this for the astronauts and crew of the ISS ever since he first visited a USO Center in the 1970s while stationed in Southeast Asia.  “I feel like I’ve been shouting about this from the rooftops forever,” explained the General.  “But, as they say, in space, no one can hear you scream.”

Standard offerings like the USO Care Package will also be available to the men and women of the ISS and – eventually – the moon.  USO Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications John Hanson is thrilled at the prospect of serving more people with these renowned USO programs.  “I just hope that our space program can – like other offerings from the USO – live long and prosper.  We do rely on the generosity of individual donors to provide land- and space-based support, unlike Astronaut Barbie, who completely sold out.”

Astronauts unload boxes of care packages for the crew onboard. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku books can go a long way to combating space-related boredom.

Both programs are set to debut in December of 2012 or – as the Mayans call it – “the end of days.”  We have no doubt that these programs will come to be enjoyed by tens, if not dozens, of former active duty military and the occasional space chimp.  Admiral Ackbar summed it up best when he said, “This is one small step for the ISS and the moon, and one giant leap for the USO.”

So say we all.  So say we all.