Last December Dave Attell, Nick Bollettieri, Billy Ray Cyrus and Anna Kournikova convened in the name of Troops as part of the annual USO holiday tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Centered around saluting America’s armed forces, the group visited three countries in seven days, to sign autographs and talk with Troops.
Kournikova recently discussed her work with the USO (this was her third tour) and has previously said of this tour, “It’s just an incredible honor for me to come out and visit you guys and try to spread the holiday spirit. I really hope you enjoy the show.” Cyrus echoed those sentiments: “It is an honor to be here. Thank you for being over here and being our heroes.”
We’ve put together a highlights reel from the tour and hope you enjoy!
We see a lot here at the USO. Our programs, services, and celebrity entertainment tours have taken us to nearly every corner of the globe. But there’s something so very special about the holiday season – this time of year – that makes our work that much more meaningful.
We are thrilled and honored to bring you some of what might be the best pictures of the year: photos from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Holiday tour, as it makes its way through Iraq and Afghanistan. The talent is stellar: Billy Ray Cyrus, Anna Kournikova, Dave Attell, Nick Bollettieri, and Admiral Mullen (we think he’s a celebrity!). But it’s so much more than that.
Look at the faces of our men and women in uniform. Check out how much fun “Santa” is having. And realize that our job at the USO
is never done. All we can do is provide a taste of home. Until EVERY one comes home.
With multiple entertainment tours out, we’re reminded why we do what we do. Even though entertainment is about 20 percent of our mission, it’s a very visible way to let troops and families know someone back here cares about service members serving far from home – especially at the holidays.
So, hats off to Anna Kournikova, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dave Attell, Mark Wills, Keni Thomas, Sheryl Underwood, Leeann Tweeden, members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the U.S. Army Band (Downrange) for traveling to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Germany this month. Thanks, too to Admiral Michael Mullen and Sgt Major of the Army Ken Preston for continuing their tradition of taking these celebrities overseas.
I don’t want to leave out country artist (and Army Airborne veteran) Craig Morgan for visiting troops on Guam (hey, if you haven’t been stationed there, you don’t know how lonely that island can be) and to other members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for heading out on their annual Christmas tour of Korea.
Remember, folks, these performers don’t have to do this. They volunteer to give up time with their families and this most family-centered time of year to do something bigger than themselves.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, meets Billy Ray Cyrus prior to the plane leaving. Comedian Dave Attell, tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, Billy Ray Cyrus and Kournikova are also on the Holiday Tour. (USO Photo by DAVE GATLEY)
The line-up of troops to get autographed photos and meet with the touring group snakes outside the building. (USO Photo by DAVE GATLEY)
Soldiers were given a little something extra for the Holidays as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders performed their Annual Christmas Concert sponsored by the United Service Organization Dec. 29 at Camp Casey.
Country music star Craig Morgan autographs a guitar for a child after a concert he performed at Anderson Air Base in Guam December.