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.
A note from Jane Campbell, CAPT, U.S. Navy (OF-5), ISAF Joint Command:
“Yesterday we hosted ADM & Mrs. Mullen & the USO Holiday Troop Tour (Comedian – Dave Attell, Tennis legend – Nick Bolletierri, Tennis star - Anna Kournikova, and Country Music star – Billy Ray Cyrus).
MCC Craig Strawser who was the star of the day — literally. Chief Strawser is a huge fan of Billy Ray Cyrus. He captured several hundred
images of Billy Ray signing autographs & standing with soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. As the autograph session wrapped up, I walked over and suggested that I take a picture of Chief and Billy Ray. They both smiled.
Billy Ray Cyrus and U. S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Craig P. Strawser
Chief then asked Billy Ray if he could tell him why he was such a fan. Chief relayed the story that about 10 years ago that he had the opportunity to talk with him following a concert at a fair in California. Evidently somebody tried to interrupt that conversation, and Billy Ray stopped them — informed them that Chief was a Navy man — and that he didn’t want to be interrupted.
Amazingly, Billy Ray responded to Chief’s story by saying — “Yeah, we walked over by the Corn Dog stand and finished the conversation.” Chief was shocked that Billy Ray remembered. I think most of us standing around were shocked — and more than pleasantly impressed.
We wrapped up the session, and took Mrs. Mullen and the USO Tour over to our cafeteria for lunch.”
Just another day in the life of a USO Celebrity Tour! Click here
for other tour photos and be sure to read this article
from Black Anthem Military News.