USO Tour Veteran Kellie Pickler Shares Why She’s Excited to Perform at the 2014 Gala

Seven-time USO tour veteran and recording artist Kellie Pickler took a break from her pre-Gala preparations to share why she is excited to perform at the 2014 USO Gala tonight.

“I’m honored to be here tonight and be a part of honoring our service men and women. It’s going to be a great night,” Pickler said.

The award-winning country music artist, who first gained fame as an “American Idol” contestant, has entertained more than 33,000 troops and military families while touring with the USO.

Photos: Hunter Hayes a Huge Hit With Military Fans at His First USO Show

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Country star Hunter Hayes made a big impact at Naval Station Norfolk this week, performing his first USO show, meeting with two USO contest winners during radio appearances and greeting hundreds of fans before taking the stage.

“I can’t express in words what this first USO show was like for me,” Hayes said. “Getting to perform for all these special men and women, and their families – all of you! Thank you for your service, and for sacrificing all the little moments. We love you.”

He’ll be around the military community this fall, too. Hayes is playing another USO show in October for American troops, this time at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, on Oct. 11. He also says he’s excited about promoting the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign, even donning a T-shirt with the campaign’s logo at one point Thursday.

“Every Moment Counts – I love those three words,” Hayes told the USO in an interview Tuesday. “I love that that’s what our current focus is. And the message is the fact that they give so much for us, that every moment with them, we never want to take it for granted.”

You can see more photos from Hayes’ Norfolk show on our Flickr site.

Live from the Homefront

Tim McGraw performing at the Live from the Homefront Memorial Day Concert with USO NY and Chase

To honor all those who have served this Memorial Day, USO Metro NY and Chase partnered together to host Live From the Homefront – the first of many upcoming concerts featuring country superstar Tim McGraw.

Kip Moore opened for Tim McGraw at the Live from the Homefront Memorial Day concert

His first experience performing for the troops, opening act Kip Moore quickly had everyone on their feet, laughing and singing along. Much to the troops’ delight, he even debuted a new song inspired by all those who serve that he and his band wrote together the night before!

Getting the crowd pumped is easy when you’re Tim McGraw!

Then Tim McGraw took the stage! Singing favorites new and old, the audience screamed and cheered for his entire performance. Shaking hands and handing out high fives, McGraw later said “These men and women go out and put their lives on the line to protect the simple freedoms we enjoy every day. Playing for them last night was a thrill for me, and it was just small gesture of appreciation.”

The Memorial Day performance kicked off McGraw’s involvement with the HomeFront program, an effort from Chase and Operation Homefront to help military families buy homes. The program will provide mortgage-free houses to 25 wounded service members and military men and women in need.

The whole performance was streamed live on YouTube and the Pentagon Channel. Here are some great pictures if you missed it!

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- Vyque Elessar, USO Director of New Media

The USO <3s Rodney Atkins

Tennessee native and American country superstar Rodney Atkins just recently returned from Kuwait and Afghanistan after a weeklong USO tour. This isn’t his first time supporting the troops, though. In 2011, Rodney partnered with Applebee’s to help launch a military support campaign to honor veterans and active duty military personnel worldwide. The “Thank You Movement” officially launched last October and allows folks to post thank you messages on ThankYouMovement.com, Applebees’ Facebook page, Twitter using the hashtag #ThankYouMovement, or YouTube. Veterans and servicemen and women can then go online and see those messages.

 During his most recent endeavor, Rodney visited eight bases and performed six formal USO shows in addition to several “unplugged” performances for wounded soldiers and service men and women unable to their posts. He also posed for pictures and signed autographs with over 3,400 service members at Camp Buehring, Camp Arifjan, Camp Leatherneck and Kandahar Air Field.

Rodney Atkins on his 2012 USO Tour

“I can’t say enough about how amazing my USO tour to the Middle East was,” Atkins said. “From all of the skilled and brave service men and women I met to the warm reception I received throughout my time downrange.  I learned a lot, had a great experience and, most importantly, made a lot of memories.  I can’t wait to go back out again and extend my thanks.” – Joseph P. Scannell, New Media Intern

Trace Adkins to Perform Welcome Home Concert at Fort Benning

In 2008 Trace Adkins returned to the Persian Gulf to entertain the troops with a USO/Armed Forces Entertainment Tour. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

If you’re in the Fort Benning area, be sure to catch  country music star Trace Adkins on Friday., November 5, for a FREE USO concert!

The concert starts at 7:00 p.m., and will help welcome home more than 4,500 soldiers of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division who just completed a year-long deployment in Iraq.  It’s open open to all military ID holders and will take place at Wetherby Field.

A long time supporter of the U.S. military, Adkins has traveled on two USO tours since 2002 and performed for more than 7,800 troops stationed in Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He also makes regular visits to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center.

Check out his latest TV appearance on “Chelsea Lately,” below, and mark your calendars for 7:00 p.m. on November 5th…we’ll see you there!

Get Your Free Joey+Rory Download!

Country music duo Joey+Rory recently completed their first USO tour, with a special 4th of July military concert in Guantanamo Bay.  And today we have a special treat for all of their fans:

A free download of Joey+Rory’s new song “This Song is For You,” featuring Zac Brown Band!

Getting the song is easy: just click on the link above or either of the images, share some quick, basic info and their latest tune it’s all yours!

We love our country music supporters and we know you love them back.  Here’s sending a huge thanks to Joey + Rory and Zac Brown Band for the free download.  Let us know what you think!

Be sure to become a fan of Joey+Rory and Zac Brown Band on Facebook, and follow Joey+Rory and Zac Brown Band on Twitter…