Coaches Rich Ellerson, Chip Kelly, Tim Murphy and Ron Zook Lift Spirits on First-Ever USO/Morale Entertainment Tour

Four of today's top college football coaches pose for a group photo outside the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. The coaches are in the region as part of a nine-day, six-country USO/Morale Entertainment tour. (Morale Entertainment Photo by Blake Belcher)

“It’s an honor for me to have the opportunity to spend some time with our young men and women serving overseas, who get up every day and fight for the rights of others. The men and women of our U.S. Armed Forces embody the true spirit of heroism.” -Rich Ellerson, West Point

The USO, in conjunction with Morale Entertainment, recently deployed four top college football coaches overseas as part of a nine-day USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour to Germany and South West Asia. Making the 15-hour journey to boost morale and bring a touch of home to troops were West Point head coach Rich Ellerson, University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Harvard University head coach Tim Murphy, and University of Illinois head coach Ron Zook.

As Tim Murphy explained, “This was not something I had to think about and I committed to it on the spot. We have two recent Harvard Football players who are at Camp Pendelton (Calif.) as Marine Corp offices awaiting deployment to Afghanistan and it’s the least I can do to show my spport for them and all the brave men and women of our armed forces.”

This is the first USO tour for each coach. During the trip, the group is scheduled to visit six countries in nine days to sign autographs and take photos.  They’ll also be participating in panel discussions and leading flag football competitions with troops. Among some of the places visited so far are, McConnell Air Force Base and the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

We’d like to thank American Airlines, which provided all domestic and international travel support for each tour participant as part of its office of Veterans and Military Initiatives; and Under Armour (UA), for donating athletic apparel to service members throughout the tour. And, as part of Under Armour’s Freedom initiative, the coaches will guide troops through an official UA Football Combine aboard an aircraft carrier and lead U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force in the 3rd consecutive “UA Dust Bowl” flag football game!

And while the Troops get a chance to kick back with some of today’s best coaches, it’s the coaches themselves who are humbled to take part in their first tour:
“To say that my USO tour has had an impact on me would be an understatement,” said Ron Zook of University of Illinois. “There is something profound about following in the footsteps of our troops and taking part in the activities that shape their everyday lives. I only wish everyone had this opportunity.”

University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly takes time out to sign autographs for some of his youngest fans as part of his week-long USO/Morale Entertainment tour abroad. This is Murphy's first overseas tour to visit U.S. troops. (Morale Entertainment photo by Blake Belcher)

Harvard University head coach Tim Murphy takes time out to chat with a Wounded Warrior Project representative at the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. In the region to boost troop morale and talk football, Murphy, along with three other college coaches, are scheduled to visit six countries in nine days as part of their first USO/Morale Entertainment tour. (Morale Entertainment Photo by Blake Belcher)

University of Illinois head coach Ron Zook takes time out to sign autographs as part of his week-long USO/Morale Entertainment tour abroad. This is Murphy's first overseas tour to visit U.S. troops. (Morale Entertainment photo by Blake Belcher)

Four of today's top college football coaches mingle with troops during a recent visit to the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. The coaches are in the region as part of a nine-day, six-country USO/Morale Entertainment tour. (Morale Entertainment Photo by Blake Belcher)

The Whigs Invade Europe on USO Tour

 

The Whigs (L-R) Tim Deaux, Julian Dorio and Parker Gisbert perform for troops at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, on the band's first-ever USO tour, May 22, 2010. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

 

Athens, GA-based rock band The Whigs are currently traveling through Germany and the UK on their first USO tour.  journey abroad to Europe and rock out with military families as part of a nine-day USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour.  The tour kicked off last week and the trio has performed five hi-octane USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour concerts for troops and their families.

Locations visited include USAG Grafenwoeher, USAG Hohenfels, Spangdahlem Air Base, Ramstein Air Base and RAF Alconbur.  The Whigs have also visited the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.  During their visit, the band will also sign autographs, pose for photos and tour multiple military posts.  Check out some fresh photos!

 

The Whigs singer/songwriter Parker Gisbert performs for troops at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, May 22, 2010. The rock band recently set out on their first-ever USO tour, entertaining troops serving in the UK and Germany. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

 

 

Rock band The Whigs (L-R) Tim Deaux, Parker Gispert and Julian Dorio (far right) pose with troops at Ramstein Air Base, May 22, 2010. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)

 

 

Rock band The Whigs (L-R) Tim Deaux, Julian Dorio and Parker Gisbert (far left), pose with the stage crew, before performing for troops at Ramstein Air Base, May 22, 2010. (USO Photo by Jamie Goloyugo)