You Helped Us Provide 100,000 Phone Calls…Can We Do More?

This is probably the ONLY time you'll see the phone bank at USO Basra this quiet - when the center's closed for cleaning! (USO photo from USO Basra's Facebook page)

We knew our USO family was the best!  Last week we told you how Billy Ray Cyrus showed his support for Operation Phone Home, and how YOU could show support, too.  We challenged you to help provide 100,000 call for troops to their loves ones before July 31, and…

Guess what?  We blew right past our goal!  We heard your response loud and clear, so we’re upping our goal to 250,000 calls for Troops and the deadline of July 31 is fast approaching!

When you donate $15 today, you will provide our brave men and women with 45 calls home.  That’s three calls for every dollar donated!  We couldn’t do what we do without your support.  Know that we’ll be there providing free phones calls and all of the other great programs and services you’ll find at the USO…Until Every One Comes Home.

Brother Clyde Brings Bliss to El Paso

Billy Ray Cyrus proudly displayed his key to Fort Bliss to thousands of military families in attendance at his USO concert with new band Brother Clyde, July 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Lencho Guerra)

“Any chance I get to break away and express my thanks to our troops and their families – whether it be through a song, a visit or a trip overseas, I am there. And my trip to Fort Bliss is no different.  I am thrilled to be in El Paso and honored to be performing before our nation’s true heroes.” -Billy Ray Cyrus

Multi-platinum recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus and his rock n’ roll revival BROTHER CLYDE brought their show to thousands of soldiers and military families at Fort Bliss with a 75 minute USO concert on July 25.  During their time on post, Cyrus and fellow members of BROTHER CLYDE mingled with troops and Cyrus also performed some of his most memorable hits like “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Some Gave All.”

This trip marks the second USO tour for Cryus, who visited and entertained more than 7,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Germany in December 2009; this was first the USO appearance for BROTHER CLYDE.  An avid supporter of America’s armed forces, Cyrus and his daughter, Miley, invited dozens of military families to a studio taping of Disney Channel’s hit show “Hannah Montana.”  They then surprised each guest with an invitation to take part in filming a concert scene for the show and a greeting to their loved ones stationed abroad.  Cyrus’ latest project, the rock n’ roll revival known as BROTHER CLYDE, will release their self-titled debut CD in August.

Check out the photo essay below!

Brother Clyde drummer Samatha Maloney plays to a crowd of military families on Fort Bliss as part of the first USO concert for the band, July 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Lencho Guerra)

Brother Clyde bass player Daniel Knight performs with USO tour veteran and band mate Billy Ray Cyrus, July 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Lencho Guerra)

A crowd of more than 2,000 military families turn out for the Brother Clyde USO concert featuring Billy Ray Cyrus at Fort Bliss, July 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Lencho Guerra)

A young fan keeps the beat as she looks on during the USO concert featuring Billy Ray Cyrus and Brother Clyde at Fort Bliss, July 25, 2010. (USO Photo by Lencho Guerra)

A Billy Ray Cyrus Concert…and Operation Phone Home!

U.S. service members pose for photos with country singer Billy Ray Cyrus during a USO holiday show at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 19, 2009. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Triah Pendracki/Released)

Country superstar and USO tour veteran Billy Ray Cyrus will play a free concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at Biggs Army Airfield on Fort Bliss.   This event is a special, exclusive performance just for military personnel with valid IDs and their families; the general public will not be admitted. 

Cyrus is a great supporter of the Troops, having gone a week-long, three-country USO tour last December with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; tennis star Anna Kournikova; and comedian Dave Attell.  He’s also a supporter of Operation Phone Home, a USO program that delivers prepaid international phone cards to deployed service members free of charge, and recently shared this special message that explains how YOU can support the program, too: 

“Being separated from family and loved ones is just one of the many difficult sacrifices our troops make to defend our country and our freedom. But right now, you and I have a special opportunity to help make dealing with that separation just a little easier. 

Thanks to the USO’s Operation Phone Home program, when you donate $15 today, you will provide our brave men and women with 45 calls home.To make the most of this opportunity, the USO has set a goal of 100,000 calls by July 31. It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one we must take on for our troops. And it’s one we know we can achieve with the help of generous supporters like you. So please, don’t hesitate and join in this great campaign today. 

Thank you,
Billy Ray Cyrus”

Thanks to Billy Ray Cyrus for all he does for our Troops and their families, and thanks to all of YOU who make our programs and services possible.  Let’s make these 100,000 calls by July 31st a reality!

Exclusive Video from the Chairman’s Tour!

Chairman's TourLast December Dave AttellNick 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!

Chairman’s Holiday Tour – Our Favorite Pics!

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.