Ayla Brown Performs for Troops and Families at Nashville Yellow Ribbon Event

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Country singer Ayla Brown preformed in Nashville for Army National Guard troops and Army reservists. USO photos by Joseph A. Lee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More than 1,500 Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers and their families from 43 states enjoyed an intimate USO performance by country music singer and former American Idol contestant Ayla Brown on Saturday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center here.

Brown is the oldest daughter of former United States Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who also happens to be a colonel in the Army National Guard, so she’s no stranger to the military scene. In fact,  she entertained 15,000 troops at  Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, in November 2010.

“With a grandfather in the Air Force and my father in the Army, an appreciation for the military is something I’ve grown up with,” Brown said. “After moving out here to Nashville, I told the USO that if they ever need me to donate my time, just pick up the phone and call — and here I am.”

Her latest album, written specifically for military families, is called “Heroes and Hometowns.” The seven-song EP features a studio version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in addition to original, patriotic songs. Fans can purchase her new single – “Pride of America” – through her website or iTunes.

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is a congressionally mandated program for soldiers in the deployment cycle. The one- or two-day events feature experts who brief soldiers and their family members on topics such as healthcare, financial readiness, legal issues, employment services, child and youth services, health and wellness, education benefits and veteran’s affairs.

Story and photos by Joseph Andrew Lee, USO Staff Writer

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Brown’s performance got the crowd on its feet.

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Brown took time to meet attendees after her show.

USO Goes Down Under to Improve Life for Marines Training in Darwin, Australia

USO reps visit MRF-D Marines

Carolyn Harris, regional vice president, USO – Pacific, speaks to Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, on Friday at the USO day room. Photo courtesy of Marine Sgt. Sarah Fiocco

If America’s troops are going to the ends of the Earth, we are, too.

A Marine with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force - Darwin, stocks the USO day room fridge on Wednesday. Photo by Marine Sgt. Sarah Fiocco

A Marine stocks the USO day room fridge on Wednesday. Photo by Marine Sgt. Sarah Fiocco

A USO contingent is in Darwin, Australia, this week to meet with troops from Marine Rotational Force – Darwin about how the organization can improve the organization’s setup there. The USO recently established a day room with gaming systems, TVs, Internet access and free snacks just steps away from the Marines’ barracks.

“We really like having the Internet. Everyone uses it,” Lance Cpl. Derrick Wastart told DVIDS. “We’re really thankful for it, especially because it’s one of our only means of communication to our families. We really appreciate it.”

Darwin, on the northern coast of Australia, is seen as a strategic U.S. training location in the Pacific.