News & Notes From Around the World

Baghdad, Iraq – The USO in Baghdad sponsored a “235th Birthday for the Army Jag” 5K run.  For those of you familiar with the terrain, the runners started at Signal Hill on Camp Victory.  Over 450 people show up for this early morning weekend run. The USO had T-shirts for all the runners and plaques for the top 3 fastest male and female participants.  Congrats to all!

Runners stretched in preparation of a 5K run sponsored by the USO. (Photo by USO Baghdad)

Landstuhl, Germany – On July 30, 2010 the USO Warrior Center hosted an event with Heidelberg Sports and Fitness.  A group came down to cook out for the wounded warriors and give away some T-shirts designed especially for the event.  Menu choices included ribs, pork steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, bratwurst, baked beans, potato salad, corn on the cob, vegetarian chili, watermelon, and garlic bread.  Yummy!

The event also fell on their Flashback Friday tradition, so a couple of older sports-themed movies were shown during the dinner, including “Bull Durham” and “Hoosiers.”  The turnout for the event was great, with 100 wounded warriors in attendance.  Nearly every wounded warrior echoed this warrior’s feelings, “this is the best food I have had in a long time.”

The wounded warriors were grateful to the Heidelberg crew for grilling for them and to the USO for hosting another successful event. (Photo by USO Warrior Center)

Basrah, Iraq – Texas Hold’em has quickly become a base favorite at USO Basrah. Every seat in the house was full once again as soldiers competed to make it to the final table. The addition of new trophies for the top card sharks had everyone playing their hands tight and bringing their best game face to the table.  Though not everyone walked away a champion, everyone had the chance to hone their skills and prepare…for next month’s tournament.  For more pictures, visit USO Basrah on Facebook by clicking here.

The poker tables were packed as Troops anted up for a tournament. (Photo by USO Basrah)

Papa Roach Breaks Away From European Tour to Perform Two USO Concerts!

Rock band Papa Roach extends their thanks to our nation's heroes and their families at the conclusion of their USO concert in Wiesbaden, Germany, July 27, 2010. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

“The band is extremely happy to be back in Europe touring and is honored to break away from our European tour to visit troops and deliver a USO concert. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do everyday if it weren’t for our men and women in uniform and their families, who sacrifice a lot for us to live out our dreams.” – Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix

Papa Roach and Dear Superstar broke away from their European Tour last week to perform USO Concerts at Aviano Air Base and U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.  Over 1,400 Airmen, Soldiers and military families enjoyed the USO/Armed Forces Entertainment concerts; the Germany performance was broadcast by AFN-Europe to 56 countries including the Middle East, the Balkans and Africa.

Currently the bands are continuing their tour throughout Europe, and are scheduled to perform 21 concerts between mid-July and Aug. 15 in 11 European countries.  Check out more photos below!

Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix gets front and center for troops at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, July 27, 2010. The band recently participated in their first USO tour, including a second concert for troops at Aviano Air Base in Italy. (USO Photo by Jaime Goloyugo)

On break from their European tour, Papa Roach hits the stage to performs for thousands of military families at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, July 27, 2010. USO Photo by Jaime Goloyugo

Papa Roach huddled up just before hitting the stage for their USO concert at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, July 27, 2010. (USO Photo by Jaime Goloyugo)

Rock band Papa Roach gives an interview on the importance of supporting troops and military families for AFN in Germany, July 27, 2010, just before their concert aired in over 50 countries worldwide. (USO Photo by Jaime Goloyugo)

Papa Roach, LIVE in Concert Today on AFN!

Jerry Horton, lead guitarist for Papa Roach, setting up his rig for tonight's concert - it's live on Freedom Channel starting at 8:00! (Photo from AFN-Europe's Facebook Page)

Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Papa Roach will air their USO/Armed Forces Entertainment concert at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden in Germany LIVE tonight on AFN-Europe!  The band is taking a break from their current European tour to entertain Troops and their families; they also performed alongside rock n’ rollers Dear Superstar at Aviano Air Base in Italy earlier this week.

Tonight’s live broadcast be air on American Forces Network’s Freedom channel, and is scheduled to start some time after 8 p.m. CET, which will allow troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to watch the show, AFN officials said. Troops and Department of Defense civilians around the globe with AFN decoders should also be able to see the broadcast.

Check out our exclusive teaser below and let us know what you think of the show!

Lt. Dan Band Says “Ciao” to Naples

Gary Sinise and his 12-member band, the Lt. Dan Band, celebrated Independence Day with over 4,000 military families at an exclusive USO concert, sponsored by TriWest Health Care Alliance, at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr in Germany, July 4, 2010. (U.S. Army Photo by Gertrud Zach/released)

You know him, you love him, and his band regaled Troops and families with their favorite songs over the 4th of July holiday.  Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band traveled through Germany and Italy for a special pair of concerts earlier this month, entertaining thousands of military families along the way.  Visit their website for the latest updates; they have public concerts coming up in Oshkosh, WI; Airway Heights, WA; and Staten Island, just to name a few.

And be sure to check out our photo essay from the stops in Germany – with USO’s very own CEO and President Sloan Gibson – and enjoy the videos below from Italy!

Twilight Star Michael Welch Dazzled Military Teens on First USO Education Tour

Twilight actor Michael Welch addresses a group of schoolchildren at the Kapaun School Age Program at Kaiserslautern, Germany on July 9, 2010. (USO photo by Jaime M. Goloyugo)

“Traveling with the USO and meeting military families has been a new experience for me, and one that I will never forget. Hearing firsthand what it’s like to have a loved one deployed is humbling and it makes me realize how much military families sacrifice, and how grateful I am for their service.” – Michael Welch

Twilight star Michael Welch recently completed his first USO education tour to Germany.   During his six-day adventure, Welch visited 10 teen and youth centers, signed autographs, posed for photos and participated in acting workshops.  In addition to visiting with over 600 military kids and teens, the young star made a trip to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where he met with wounded warriors, as well as children recovering in the hospital’s pediatric ward.

As part of his USO tour, the 86th Services Squadron hosted an online contest and two lucky young winners were treated to dinner with Welch.  Best known for his role as ‘Mike Newton’ in Twilight and most recently seen in the newly released Eclipse, Welch has also made appearances on hit TV series such as “CSI: Miami,” “Numb3rs” and “Law & Order: SVU.”  Check out our photo essay below!

Michael Welch signs autographs for a group of teenage fans at the Landstuhl Teen Center, July 9, 2010. (USO photo by Jaime M. Goloyugo)

Several Troops snagged autographs for their military teens and kids when Michael Walsh stopped by the Landstuhl Teen Center on July 9, 2010. (USO photo by Jaime M. Goloyugo)

Welch poses with staff at the Landstuhl Teen Center, July 9, 2010. (USO photo by Jaime M. Goloyugo)

Welch spent over an hour taking questions and then posed for a group shot with students and staff at the Landstuhl School Age Program, July 9, 2010. (USO photo by Jaime M. Goloyugo)

Welch entertains a variety of questions from a group of youth ages 6-12 at the Landstuhl School Age Program on July 9, 2010. (USO photo by jaime M. Goloyugo)

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band Rock the Fourth with a USO Concert in Germany!

Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band hit the stage to celebrate troops and their families at USAG Grafenwoher, Germany, July 4, 2010. (USO Photo by Jaimie Goloyugo)

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than being with the men and women of our armed forces. The band and I are always happy to hit the road with the USO.  We love performing for troops, because their sacrifices make it possible for the rest of us to live our lives.  They deserve so much more, and this is just one way for us to let them know we appreciate what they do.” – Gary Sinise

Emmy Award-winning actor Gary Sinise and his 12-member band, the Lt. Dan Band, celebrated Independence Day with over 4,000 military families at an exclusive USO concert, sponsored by TriWest Health Care Alliance, at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr in Germany, July 4, 2010.  Over the past seven years, Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band have entertained nearly 150,000 troops and military families in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan.

On Saturday, July 10, Sinise and band will travel to Italy to put on another USO show, also sponsored by TriWest, for troops and military families serving at NSA Naples.  Can’t make it to Italy?  Then check out the Jonathan Flora documentary “Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good,” which chronicled the band’s journey around the globe in support of U.S. troops.  It’s almost like being on the front row.

As always, we love having Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band on tour in support of our Troops.  If you were there, let us know what you thought of the concert!  And be sure to check out more pictures below…

More than 4,000 military families gathered at USAG Grafenwoehr, Germany to celebrate Independence Day with a USO concert featuring Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, July 4, 2010. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

Gary Sinise and his bandmates get up close and personal with Troops and their families at USAG Grafenwoher for their USO concert celebrating Independence Day. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson accompanied Sinise and bandmates to Germany, and also took time out to visit with Troops along the way. (USO photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

Vocalist Jeff Vezain (l) and Gary Sinise lead the band in a crowd favorite. Sinise formed The Lt. Dan Band with Chicago composer/Vietnam veteran Kimo Williams (not shown) in 2003, and they continue to perform 30 to 40 shows annually. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)