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!

Kellie Pickler Salutes the Troops in “Makin’ Me Fall in Love Again”

Kellie Pickler shows her support for the Troops in her latest video, "Makin' Me Fall in Love Again."

Kellie Pickler shows her support for the Troops in her latest video, "Makin' Me Fall in Love Again."

Kellie Pickler‘s latest video might look familiar to long-time fans of the USO. The three-time USO tour participant and country music singer “chose a 1940s era USO theme to bring “Makin’ Me Fall in Love Again” to life,” as revealed by the Charlotte Observer earlier this month.  Pickler has visited the Persian Gulf and other locations in support of the military, and her USO tours are always a huge hit.

This video had its world premiere on GAC just days ago.  You can also check out the video diary from her first USO tour on her GAC Artist Page.  But first…check out the “Makin Me Fall in Love Again” music video below – and keep an eye out for the USO banner in the background!

John Rich Wraps Up 2010 Warrior Games with USO Concert in Honor of America’s Heroes

John Rich plays a concert at Arnold Hall on the United States Air Force Academy to cap off the 2010 Warrior Games. (USO photo by Michael J. Pach / 3 Peaks Photography & Design)

“When I was asked by the USO to perform as part of the closing ceremonies for the 2010 Warrior Games, I didn’t have to think about my answer. I knew I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to honor our wounded warriors. What they sacrifice, they sacrifice for us all and anything I can do to say thank you and to let them know that we appreciate them and support them in their recovery, I will. Performing for them was an honor and something that I will always treasure.” – John Rich.

A wounded warrior plays with John Rich and his band during a concert at Arnold Hall on the United States Air Force Academy. (USO photo by Michael J. Pach / 3 Peaks Photography & Design)

Rich recently performed an exclusive USO concert for over 500 country music fans during the closing ceremonies of the first-ever Warrior Games. The Games were held in Colorado Springs, CO, and hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Department of Department of Defense.  Rich has a history of supporting the Troops; this was the second USO tour, having gone out in 2005 as part of the country music duo Big and Rich to Germany and Iraq.

Before the concert, Rich visited with Troops at the USO center in Fort Carson and performed an acoustic set.  When he later took the stage at Arnold Hall Theater at the U.S. Air Force Academy, we was joined by three wounded heroes from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  The warriors are participants in Musicorps, an intensive music rehabilitation program founded and run by composer Arthur Bloom that aids healing and improves quality of life during long and difficult periods of recovery.

Rocky Mountain USO director Joe Aldaz presents a gift to country singer John Rich after his concert at Arnold Hall on the United States Air Force Academy. (USO photo by Michael J. Pach / 3 Peaks Photography & Design)

Bloom had this to say about the experience:  “When John Rich and the USO suggested bringing wounded warriors from Musicorps onto the stage with him for this event, we were thrilled, as were the soldiers. Musicorps is an intensive music rehab program that improves quality of life and aids healing during long and difficult periods of recovery.  As SGT Nicholas Firth commented, “it gives us a piece of us back.” It is an honor to bring SGT Firth, and two other wounded warriors – one who picked up a guitar for the first time at Walter Reed and never put it down –  to perform with John Rich at this unprecedented event in order to share their inspirational accomplishment with a wider audience.”

The inaugural Warrior Games were a five-day athletic competition featured 200 wounded warriors, from all branches of the military, competing in seven sports.  The sports featured during the games were shooting, swimming, archery, volleyball, cycling, track and field and basketball.  John Rich recently released his first solo project “Son of a Preacher Man,” and debuted his first chart-topping solo single “Shuttin’ Detroit Down.”  Check out more pics below!

Command Sgt. Maj. Kilpatrick thanks John Rich for entertaining Soldiers and their families at the Fort Carson USO center. (USO photo by Michael J. Pach / 3 Peaks Photography & Design)

Country star John Rich plays for Soldiers and their families at the Fort Carson USO center. (USO photo by Michael J. Pach / 3 Peaks Photography & Design)

Troops Respond to Toby Keith’s USO Concert

Megastar Toby Keith performs for troops at a remote Foward Operating Base in the Persian Gulf, May 5, 2010. Joining Keith onstage is singer/songwriter Scotty Emerick. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Toby Keith may have concluded his eighth USO Tour, but the positive impact on the Troops continues.  Check out audience reaction to Keith’s concert…

Toby Keith Keeps it Country in Germany

Toby Keith is criss-crossing the globe on his eighth USO tour and what a ride it’s been so far!  The country music superstar recently tweeted “TK: Germany was awesome. Visited wounded soldiers. Some just arrived-never gets easier 2 see. Spirit of these humans remain ever vigilant.”  We couldn’t agree more!  Check out some photos from his stops in Germany…

Toby Keith poses with staff at Landstuhl Medical Facility in Germany, May 1, 2010. Travelng on his eighth USO tour Keith will visit four countries in 14 days, visiting and entertaining thousands of service members in Korea, Germany and the Persian Gulf. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Toby Keith shares a meal with wounded warriors at the USO's Wounded Warrior Center in Landsthul, Germany, May 2, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Nearly 5,000 soldiers and their families piled into an aircraft hanger at the Ramstein Air Field in Germany for an exclusive Toby Keith USO concert on May 1, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Troops and their families lined Ramstein Airfield's aircraft parking apron for an exclusive USO concert featuring award-winning entertainer Toby Keith on May 1, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

As the American flag proudly waved behind the stage, Toby Keith and the band perform in a hangar at Ramstein Airfield in Germany on May 3, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)