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!

News & Notes from Around the World

This week’s edition of News & Notes show how great collaborations can build a better USO for everybody…

USO Baghdad staffers Richard (left) and Ernie (right) shake hands with Iraqi Air Force Command Chief Master Sergeant Hassan Abid Kahdum, the senior NCO of the IqAF.

Baghdad, Iraq – It’s known as the Iraq Training & Advising Mission (ITAM) and it’s a key component to the drawdown plans for US Forces serving in Iraq. Here in Baghdad on Sather Air Base, members of the USAF work side by side with the Iraqi Air Force building up the personnel and fleet to enable the Iraqis to be self sustained. The ITAM-AF mission takes place on Al Multhana Air Base which sits right next to Sather Air Base and many of the US Airmen that work on Al Multhana are also dedicated USO volunteers.

TSgt William “Bill” Kusar USAF has spent the last year teaching his trade of airframe maintenance to his Iraqi counterparts and in that time has become a ambassador of the USAF and friend to many of the Iraqi including IqAF General Mohhamed Alaa Jasem. Bill, one of our USO volunteers, told us how many of the Iraqi Servicemen lack many simple items on Al Multhana including toilet paper. The Staffers of the USO Baghdad were able to recognize a wonderful opportunity to reach out and do some positive work with our Iraqi partners as toilet paper and hand lotion are two of the items we have in surplus here at the USO Baghdad.

On May 18th, USO Staffers Ernie Lacson & Richard McCarty accompanied Bill Kusar to Al Multhana Air Base to donate 9 boxes of toilet paper and 2 boxes of hand lotion to the General and his staff. General Jasem was very taken with the gesture of good will and expressed his gratitude, in true Arabic fashion, by inviting the USO Staff to a dinner in our honor. The USO Baghdad has served many nations at our center including Dutch, Turkish, Australians, British, Polish and even Fijians, but it was a great opportunity to help out the Iraqi as well when their success is so vital to our mission here.

USO staff, volunteers, and supporters turned out en masse for the Komen Race for the Cure in Rome, May 2010.

Rome, Italy – On an overcast gray Sunday morning, the USO Rome Center was thinking “pink.”  More specifically, staff, volunteers, friends and visitors of the USO Rome Center were gathering early on the morning of Sunday, May 16th to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  The USO Rome Center had worked diligently over the past several weeks soliciting donations and signing up runners.  In total, their efforts raised over 240 euros.  But now came the more grueling part.  They were pinning on bib numbers and lacing up their sneakers in preparation to run the 5K through the streets of the historical center of Rome.

The Race for the Cure is the signature event of the Susan G. Komen Italia, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization, active in Italy since 2000 as the first international affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network fighting to eradicate breast cancer forever. The Race is a 5K run to raise funds, to promote positive awareness, education and early detection of breast cancer as well as to celebrate breast cancer survivors who participate to the Race donning pink caps and t-shirts and share their experience in an open and positive way.

The USO Rome Center team joined over 40,000 participants in the Race for the Cure.  Weaving their way around the race course, they had little time to catch their breath as they passed the Colosseum and the ancient Forum.  Energetic and enthusiastic the whole way, they reached the finish line and celebrated with the thousands of others in the Race Village at Terme di Caracalla.  This truly “amazing race” is now an annual event in the Eternal City and the USO Rome Center is proud to be part of this great tradition and to support this global organization.

The USO Rome Center is located in the heart of the capital city of Italy.  Conveniently located near the Vatican, the center’s goal is to make Rome one of the most memorable and positive experiences of our patrons’ military service by offering a “Home while in Rome.”  The USO Rome Center offers a hotel reservation service, great tours, airport transportation and free area information. And while in Rome, visit the center to relax and meet their friendly, informative staff, who can answer all your questions and provide you with area info, maps and more to help you make the most of your experience.  For more information, visit the USO Rome Center website.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

COL Dan Scott, USA, addresses the military families at the Opening Ceremony.

Chicago, Illinois- On Saturday, May 15, the USO of Illinois honored Armed Forces Day by sponsoring a fun-filled day of recreation for Illinois military and military families at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier.  Over 400 guests were treated to USO Kid Kits filled with kid-friendly surprises, free carnival rides and attractions, complimentary lunch and a free IMAX movie theater screening.  The event began with a special Opening Ceremony featuring guest speaker, Colonel Dan Scott, Deputy Commanding Officer, 3rd Brigade, 75th Division Battle Command Training Division, Ft. Sheridan, Illinois, and USO of Illinois President and COO, Tony Enrietto.

Military and their families were warmly welcomed to USO’s Navy Pier center, where USO Volunteers made them feel at home and helped military kids select a free Disney DVD from a large assortment while all families enjoyed home-baked treats and refreshments before embarking on the many activities arranged especially for the day and meant to recognize and thank them for their service.

You can find out more about USO Illinois on Facebook and Twitter.

Help Us Celebrate National Volunteer Week!

Today’s guest blogger is helping us kick off National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 19 to 25 this year.  The theme is “Celebrating People in Action,” and is designed to honor “the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities.”  We think that sums up USO volunteers perfectly!  Now let’s hear from one of them…

I’m Rasheedah Sands.  I’m an active duty Navy service member, a wife, a full-time college student and a mother of two.  I arrived in Naples, Italy in May 2008 and immediately felt that it would take me and my family awhile to adjust to the Italian culture.  Unbeknownst to me, were the different community organizations available to service members to help ease the transition, primarily the USO Naples.  I was familiar with other USO centers at various military bases in the U.S. but had never experienced first hand, the contagious enthusiasm of the USO.

My first experience with the USO Naples was in August 2008 at the annual National Night Out, a community event that focuses on maintaining safety and security throughout the base. There were local safety demonstrations by the Fire and Police departments, food, music and the entire community of Americans and local nationals thoroughly enjoyed that type of family atmosphere. The event was the first my family and I had ever attended and it involved various support and military organizations including the USO Naples.

National Night Out, 2009

The volunteers at the USO Booth were mostly active duty military members, like me, and we engaged in an evening of face painting and games with the children. It was then that I’d decided to continue to help the USO create similar events that would promote positivity and boost the morale of our service members and their families.

Therefore to create such events, I along with the rest of the USO Volunteer committee, meet weekly to brainstorm and schedule programs and events that will last throughout the year.  In 2009, the USO Naples committee hosted a large variety of events to include a Masquerade Ball, USO Birthday Bingo, USO Multicultural Festival, Halloween Freight Fest, the Taste of Home Night, and many more. I made it a priority to participate and support each of these events, which benefited and supported my own military family first hand.

I also hold the position Sailor Outreach Chair, on the USO Committee. This leadership role within our Committee is designed to take the needs of the single enlisted service members into considerations, and help the USO center develop and execute programs to support them.

Taste of Home, 2010

One of the most recent ideas developed was a USO Taste of Home Night, in an effort to bring wholesome home cooked meals to the Bachelor’s Quarters, and remind the service members of their own family’s cooking.

There was hardly any difficulty in finding spouses and other service members to donate entrées and desserts. Everyone jumped at the chance to support the single sailors. As the night progressed we had an abundance of food to include salads, casseroles, meats and desserts donated from the spouses of the community and a roomful of service members in attendance.  We have over 6 different types of Shepard pies that came piping hot from the ovens of the military spouses.  The USO volunteers also set up a video game tournament and a free giveaway to entertain the sailors.  I was extremely grateful and surprised at the amount of support provided by the community.

The event was so well received, that we decided to make it a monthly event. Last month I decided to give it a “Sunday Dinner” theme. The menu consisted of baked macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, potato salad, pot roast, baked cabbage, rice dressing, gnocchi, fried empanadas and much more.  The turnout was even better than the last, as there was over 100 service members that came out to enjoy the cuisines.

I am proud and honored to be part of the USO Naples Volunteer Committee.  Living in such a small community, thousands of miles away from our American home, it is so comforting to know and be constantly reminded that there are people in this world making sure the military members and their families are well taken care of.  And the USO Naples, that’s exactly what we do.

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Rasheedah Sands and do not necessarily reflect those of the USO.