Guitar Heroes: KISS, Def Leppard Announce Summer Tour to Benefit USO, Other Nonprofits

On Monday, nine famous men – four in heavy makeup – said they’re taking their guitars on the road to support the troops.

Paul Stanley of KISS talks to troops in Virginia Beach, Va., in 2010. Photo courtesy of the Navy

Paul Stanley of KISS talks to troops in Virginia Beach, Va., in 2010. Photo courtesy of the Navy

Kiss and Def Leppard announced their Heroes Tour during a press event at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. The tour – which starts June 23 in Utah – will cover more than 40 dates coast-to-coast. A dollar from each ticket sold will be split among multiple military support organizations, including the USO.

Troops who want to check out the show should visit kissonline.com/heroes for discount details.

KISS – which will be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month – is no stranger to supporting the military. In 2011, the USO’s Joseph Andrew Lee talked to guitarist Paul Stanley about the band’s support for wounded warriors.

Fact or Fiction? On Patrol’s New Issue Tackles Things You May Not Know About the Military

Where did dog tags come from? What do all those statues with generals on horses signify? And how hard is boot camp, really?

ImageThere are thousands of things the average person – and even some members of our armed forces – don’t know about the military. On Patrol, the magazine of the USO, set out to change that in their Spring 2013 issue.

“After working with the military in some form or fashion for more than a decade, it hit me as long as I’d worked around the military there were still things about it that baffled or fascinated me,” said Samantha Quigley, the magazine’s editor in chief. “It seemed reasonable to think that other civilians might not understand what a soldier is saying if they’re not versed in milspeak, how much preparation goes into the military’s participation in a presidential inauguration or how prominent dogs’ roles in the military are.

“Despite some serious, and even heart-wrenching stories, this issue was fun from the perspective that even the staff learned something.”

The Spring issue – which arrived in USO centers and subscribers’ homes around the United States earlier this month – debunks military myths, shares some captivating stories and is filled with trivia that could win you a bet or two at the officer’s club.

The “Fact or Fiction” feature challenges basic perceptions people have about the military like the assumed cruelty of drill sergeants, the aforementioned question about boot camp and how hard it is for women to actually climb the ranks. There’s a look at how military operations actually get named, how to understand military speak, and a piece on celebrities who worked for Uncle Sam before they got their big breaks.

You can check out the full issue online here, get a free subscription to On Patrol here, follow them on Facebook here and on Twitter at @USOOnPatrol.

—Story by Eric Brandner, USO Director of Story Development

USO’s Magazine: ON★PATROL

Here at the USO, we strive to lift the spirits of our troops and their families in as many ways as possible. One of those ways is through the official magazine of the USO. ON★PATROL recognizes the service and sacrifice of our service men and women, their families, and the extraordinary efforts of the people and organizations that support them.

First published in the Spring of 2009, ON★PATROL is about those who serve, and those who serve them. With a wide range of articles reflecting the global reach of military support, ON★PATROL is published quarterly and provides not only inspirational stories, but also information and resources to troops to find programs available to them.

ON★PATROL shares the stories that all Americans should hear, taking readers on a journey with our military and the organizations that support them — from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg to San Diego to Landstuhl, Germany.

Samantha Quigley, managing editor of ON★PATROL, explains the importance behind the magazine:

Based on reader feedback in 2011, ON★PATROL has informed, inspired and educated our readers on military family issues, the invisible wounds of war and the way war fighting has changed for the United States since September 11. We offer stories on issues pertinent to today’s military in a way that’s relevant to the majority of our readers base while trying to ensure we salute the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who served in our nation’s earlier conflicts.

Just in time for Women’s History Month, the Spring 2012 issue of ON★PATROL looks at the way women’s role in the military has evolved since the Revolutionary War. Stay tuned to see what’s coming through the rest of 2012.

The Spring 2012 issue of ON★PATROL is available today! It features a look at “An Evolution of Service: Women in the Military” with articles like “Women on the Home Front in World War II,” “The Fight for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial,” and “Women at War.” The digital edition of ON★PATROL can be found here. Enjoy! – Joseph P. Scannell, New Media Intern

Poet’s Corner: Brothers and Sisters

The Summer Edition of ON PATROL Magazine is now available online and one of our favorite articles is the Poet’s Corner, which begins on page 60 of the digital and print editions.

We’d like to share with you one of the poems – “Brothers and Sisters” – penned by Sergeant Jack Eubanks, USMC.  We hope you’ll take the time to read the rest of the magazine, and if you’re interested in home delivery of an annual subscription, please call 1-888-966-7287.

Wounded Warriors Escape to the Vineyard for a Night

Griff Jenkins of Fox News and Sloan Gibson, president and CEO of the USO, enjoy conversation with the wounded warriors at the vineyard vines-USO Tied to a Cause reception in Georgetown, Washington, DC, June 22, 2010. (USO photo by Katherine Ruddy)

By Samantha Quigley, Senior Editor, ON PATROL

For a few hours on Tuesday night two wounded warriors and their wives escaped to the Vineyard.

The USO and vineyard vines hosted a reception at the retailer’s Georgetown location in Washington, D.C., to celebrate being “Tied to a Cause.”

Tied to a Cause, a campaign through vineyard vines recognizes the efforts of community and grassroots organizations. This month, Tied to a Cause is supporting the USO’s Operation Enduring Care, an initiative to create a national network of care and support for America’s wounded warriors and their families. Proceeds from the sale of the custom USO-vineyard vines ties and totes will be donated to the USO.

The wounded warriors and their wives enjoyed a vineyard vines makeover at the start of the evening and mingled with more than 100 friends of the military, vineyard vines, and the USO, including USO President Sloan Gibson, Fox News’s Griff Jenkins, and the late Tim Russert’s son, Luke.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening, however, was the warriors and Gibson each signing two ties. One will join the many others hanging as decoration in the Georgetown store. The other will be displayed in the USO Arlington office.

The promotion will last through the Fourth of July weekend, with receptions also happening in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.

To see more photos, please visit our flickr gallery and enjoy the video below!

GI Film Fest: Honor in the Valley of Tears

Originally posted by Jeremy Borden for the ON PATROL blog:

The annual GI Film Fest celebrates the “successes and sacrifices of the American military through the medium of film.” One of those films was Honor in the Valley of Tears, which tells the story of the Army’s A-Company during the Vietnam War.

Summary by Writer-Director Eric S. Dow:

The story of A-Company 1/8 4th Infantry Division, US Army during the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1967. In the men’s own words, through the stories they narrate, the film gives us insight into the time these men spent together and the bond they formed that remains unbroken to this day. The 4th Infantry Division is one of the only divisions that trained and retained its troops during the Vietnam War. The men of A-Company trained together for eleven months and served together for one year. Their story begins with basic training at Ft. Lewis Washington in 1965 and continues 40 years later at their last reunion in September 2007. Filming began September 27, 2007 in Houston, Texas during a reunion to honor First Sergeant David H. McNerney, who is the only living member of the 4th Infantry Division to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was celebrated by the men he trained and served with and who’s lives he saved on March 22, 1967. Conceived by executive producer John A. Ponsoll, whose father served with A-Company and had documented his tour of duty with a Kodak slide camera, the film honors the memory of A-Company 1/8 and documents their incredible courage and dedication to one another.

We caught up with the filmmakers and the hero of the film, former First Sergeant David H. McNerney.