“In the company of heroes” – USA Weekend’s Cover Story!

Singer, songwriter and entertainer Toby Keith entertains troops stationed a remote forward operating base in the Persian Gulf as part of a USO/MNC-I expeditionary/Armed Forces Entertainment tour in 2008. Playing alongside with Toby is Scotty Emerick, who has co-written a number of Toby's songs. (USO photo by Dave Gatley.)

If you’re one of the subscribers lucky enough to get USA Weekend in your Sunday paper, are you in for a treat today!  Their cover story describes the experiences of celebrity entertainers – including fan favorite Toby Keith – who travel around the world to support our Troops.

From the article: “This Memorial Day weekend, as we at home honor those who serve, it’s not hard to imagine how a bright light from back home can bring a welcome break to those far-flung men and women in uniform. But we wondered: How have our brave service men and women affected the celebrities who have entertained them? After the stars were airlifted from the glamour and comfort of their own lives, often to the front lines, what did it mean to them?”

Even if you don’t receive USA Weekend in your paper, you can enjoy the article and photos online.  Let us know what you think!

Bonus Pics from the NFL Tour!

Their tour may have ended, but the great pics keep coming!  Check out these amazing images with NFL stars Drew Brees, Billy Miller, and Donnie Edwards.  And don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the post for a video from DVIDS!

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees gets rushed by service members as he plays an exhibition football game with troops at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Brees is in the region as part of a nine-day USO tour designed to boost morale and bring troops a touch of home. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (Left) and tight end Billy Miller run to complete a U.S. Marine Corps grenade training exercise at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Joined by fellow NFL'er Donnie Edwards, the trio is in the region as part of a nine-day USO tour designed to boost morale and bring troops a touch of home. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller is seen through the smoke, dust and sand atop an LAV (Light Armored Vehicle) belonging to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Miller was joined by teammate and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and NFL player Donnie Edwards, as part of their third USO tour together. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

An Indianapolis Colts fan gives his team a shout-out as New Orelans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards and New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller ride by during a training excerise on March 29, 2010 . This was the third annual USO tour for the trio, who visited troops in Japan in 2008 and spent time with those stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2009. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL players Billy Miller, Donnie Edwards and Drew Brees participate in a training exercise with U.S. Marines attached to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti on March 29, 2010. Part of a week-long USO tour, the group met with thousands of service men and women. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards and New Orleans Saints tight end Billy Miller board a V-22 Osprey in route to the USS Nassau on March 29, 2010. Traveling on their third USO tour together, the NFL trio also visited troops in Turkey and Dubaii as part of their nine-day USO tour. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Brees, Miller, and Edwards Wrap Up a Fantastic USO Tour

New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees perpares to go long, March 28, 2010. Here the Super Bowl champion engages in a friendly competition, "Great Quarterback Shootout," with Sailors and Marines of the USS Nassau. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

As their latest tour ended, NFL stars Drew Brees, Billy Miller, and Donnie Edwards took some time to reflect on the experience.  Enjoy their words and their pictures, too!

Drew Brees: “It has been a big year for the Saints. We played hard all season and along the way fulfilled a lifelong dream. And now it’s time for us to celebrate our victory with troops serving overseas. I look forward to heading out on what will be my fifth USO tour and to focusing on what matters most – those who volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way for us each and every day: our troops.”

Billy Miller: “To me, going out on USO tours and spending time with troops is not about traveling to different countries, or losing out on time with my family during the off season. It is about lifting spirits at various military outposts and gaining time with our men and women in uniform. I just wish everyone had this opportunity.”

Donnie Edwards: “If it weren’t for our Armed Forces, I wouldn’t know what it was like to have the freedom to vote, much less play football professionally. We, as Americans, owe them our respect and our time. And one of the many ways I honor them is by working with the USO and going out on tours to convey my appreciation.”

Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees (center), NFL veteran Donnie Edwards (left of Brees) and Saints tight end Billy Miller (right of Brees) poses with members of the 39th Security Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, March 24, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton.)

New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees signs this fans Indianapolis Colts blanket, March 28, 2010. Hundreds of Sailors and Marines, of the USS Nassau, came out to visit the Super Bowl champion. Brees is joined by teammate Billy Miller and NFL player Donnie Edwards, the trio will visit troops in Africa, Turkey and the Persian Gulf. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL and USO tour veteran Donnie Edwards signs an autorgraph for Marines and Sailors of the USS Nassau, March 28, 2010. Edwards is joined by fellow NFL players Drew Brees and Billy Miller, this marks the third USO tour for the trio, who will visit troops in Africa, Turkey and the Persian Gulf. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Sailors and Marines of the USS Nassau lined up to meet NFL players Drew Brees, Billy Miller and Donnie Edwards, March 28, 2010. Hundreds of troops lined-up for an opportunity to meet and get autographs from the NFL trio, who are participating in their third USO tour together. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

(L to R) NFL's Billy Miller, Drew Brees and Donnie Edwards pose for photos with members of Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Four stationed in Dubaii on March 27, 2010. This is the trio's third USO tour. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards (R) signs an autograph for U.S. Navy Gunners Mate Second Class Marvin Leon Ford, Jr. while in Dubaii on March 27, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Football's "Most Valueable Player" Drew Brees (R) poses for a photo with PS2 Lisa Dadurn of Pensacola, FL during a USO visit to Dubaii on March 27, 2010. While taking the picture, Brees holds up "Flat Stanley", a project of Dadura's second grade neice in Ft. Worth, TX. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Super Bowl Champs Drew Brees and Billy Miller Touchdown in Turkey with NFL’s Donnie Edwards and the USO

(L-R) Billy Miller, Drew Brees and Donnie Edwards pose in front of a U. S. Air Force C-17 aircraft with members of the 38th Aerial Expeditionary Group at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, March 24, 2010. On a mission to boost morale and bring a touch of home to troops the trio recently took part in their third USO tour together. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

(L-R) Billy Miller, Donnie Edwards and Drew Brees pose in the cockpit of a U. S. Air Force C-17 aircraft with U. S. Air Force Captain Stacey Miller of Chicago, IL. at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, March 24, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL players (l-r) Donnie Edwards, Billy Miller and Drew Brees pose for a photo with U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Abigail Davis, from Tallahasse, FL at the NATO Allied Air Command in Izmir, Turkey, March 25, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL veteran Donnie Edwards makes a new friend while visting an orphanage in Izmir, Turkey, March 25, 2010. Edwards is joined by New Orleans Saints players Drew Brees and Billy Miller. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

NFL players (l-r) Donnie Edwards, Billy Miller and Drew Brees sign autographs for U. S. military personell and their families at the NATO Allied Air Command in Izmir, Turkey, March 25, 2010. Donnie Edwards is shown here with U. S. Air Force Major Stanton P. Schnieder, from Colorado Springs, CO. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees (center), NFL veteran Donnie Edwards (left of Brees) and Saints tight end Billy Miller (right of Brees) poses with members of the 39th Security Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, March 24, 2010. (USO photo by Michael Clifton)

USO Tour Veteran/New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees Leads Team in Taking Home Football’s Most Coveted Trophy

Just in case you weren’t one of the more than 100 million viewers that tuned into CBS to watch Super Bowl XLIV…USO tour veteran and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees helped lead his team to a 31:17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday in Miami!

Brees was recently named “FedEx Air Player of the Year” (for the second year in a row) AND he was named MVP!  Can you tell we’re proud?

New Orleans Saints QB - Drew Brees (R), signs autograghs for the troops with footballs of this tour of Forward Operating Bases in the Middle East. Brees was in the region as part of a seven-day, three-country summer USO tour led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (USO Photo by DAVE GATLEY)

While basking in his team’s first Super Bowl win, Brees is also preparing to deploy on his fifth USO tour.  Two grandparents fought in World War II, spurring Brees to being touring with the USO in 2007.  His passion and dedication have touched the lives of thousands of troops and military families over the years.

Along the way Brees has racked up the frequent flier miles while visiting six countries: from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.  His USO experience memorably includes being a part of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen’s first USO tour in July 2008 (other special guests included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora).

On behalf of the USO and the troops stationed around the world, congratulations to Drew Brees – his teammates Donnie Edwards and Billy Miller who are also going on the tour – and the New Orleans Saints for winning football’s most coveted trophy.  May you enjoy this moment and have continued success both between and beyond the goal posts!