TV That Backs the Troops: “Sons of Anarchy” Starts its Final Season

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The final season of “Sons of Anarchy” debuts tonight on FX at 10 p.m. EDT. And if you didn’t already have enough reasons to watch, you should know cast members have done multiple USO tours to support the troops, including appearances in the Pacific, downrange and stateside.

“I am so indebted to our outstanding men and women who singularly sacrifice their own time, talents and safety to protect and defend all that is dear to us as Americans,” actor Ron Perlman wrote in an email around the time of his 2012 USO tour stop at Twentynine Palms, California. “To have the opportunity to spend time with these great young people only begins to allow me the opportunity to communicate how special they are and how grateful we all are that they are who they are.”

“Sons of Anarchy” USO tour veterans include Perlman, Theo Rossi, Dayton Callie, Kim Coates and Mark Boone Junior.

Sons of Anarchy Bring Smiles to the Pacific

Is there a word or phrase that conveys “happily exhausted?” When I first meet Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior and Dayton Callie of Sons of Anarchy on the last day of their whirlwind tour of the Pacific, that is the first thing that comes to my mind.

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Clockwise from top left: The line snaked around the parking lot; Kim Coates and Mark Boone Junior admire a framed photo of the cast before signing; The actors met with hundreds of troops and their families in the morning

Over the past seven days the trio of actors had visited troops and their families stationed in Japan and Guam, and now Hawaii. This was be the second USO tour for Coates and Boone and the third for Callie. In 2010, the cast set out on their first USO tour together, along with fellow actor Theo Rossi, and delivered cheer and a touch of home to more than 2,000 troops in Kuwait and Iraq. Last year, Callie and Rossi, along with fellow “Sons of Anarchy” star Ron Perlman, spent a day visiting troops and military families at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California.

They had just landed the night before, but no time for sun and surf – we were immediately off to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a meet and greet event!

The line of hundreds of military members and families wrapped around the parking lot in the hot sun, but it was all cheers smiles as we arrived! For three hours straight, the actors gave out hugs, took pictures and signed posters and t-shirts.

"I'm star struck!" explained one pregnant military spouse after the actors signed her tummy!

“I’m star struck!” explained one pregnant military spouse after the actors signed her tummy!

After a brief lunch, filled with signing more posters, it was off to tour a ship and meet with some of the crew members. Dayton Callie, a Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War, joked, “In my day we were still using cannon balls!”

Then it was off again to meet hundreds more excited military fans. By this point my back and feet had begun to ache and I couldn’t fathom how they were still standing. Yet they were excited to meet more people and ready with big smiles as they spent two more hours taking pictures and autographing items.

Coates, Boone and Callie at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Coates, Boone and Callie at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Finally, we spent the evening taking a private boat tour of Pearl Harbor, stopping by the USS Arizona Memorial. Awed by its significance, Coates, Boone and Callie agreed that our men and women in the military sacrifice so much and deserve the utmost respect.

Wrapping up the long day and tour with a dinner, the actors were weary but content… and already contemplating what they’ll do next with the USO! - Vyque White, USO Director of New Media

 

USO Gala 2010 Live Blog

16:47 pm We just saw Sons on Anarchy’s Kim Coates walk through the lobby! Can’t wait to see all of the other celebs throughout the evening…

17:05 pm – Madison Pettis is on stage rehearsing her remarks and she’s talking about her brother, who’s in the Army.  Be sure to check out the video of their reunion on The Bonnie Hunt Show last year.

17:36 – This year’s Volunteer of the Year is Herb Schmeling, who regularly gives 60-80 hours a month to USO Puget Sound Area.  You can read his story here!

17:45 – The Service Member of the Year Award recipients are getting their light and sound check finished up.  We’ll tell you more about each honoree later, but one of the recipients was deployed since the nomination and his wife will be accepting on his behalf.  Way to go!

18:10 – We’ve created a special message wall just for tonight’s event.  You can leave a message of support for troops and their families by clicking here!

18:18Miss USA and Miss Teen USA have both arrived.  They probably have the best jewelry of the night (love the crowns!).

The ballroom at the Marriott Wardman Park is almost ready to welcome troops and their families for USO Gala 2010! (USO photo by Em Hall)

18: 58 – We just met the amazing Hofman family: Dad is deployed and Mom and the four kids are staying in touch with United Through Reading’s Military Program.  They’ll be honored tonight in a special video – be sure to join us for the Military.com live stream at 7:30pm!

19:38 – The live stream will be starting in just a few moments!

19:47 - Just finished the presentation of Colors by the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard.  Now “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band is performing a rousing medley of each branches’ theme songs!

The Color Guard ascends the main stage at the USO Gala. This year's theme is "A Salute to Military Families." (USO photo by Joe Lee)

19:53 – Bill Engvall just took the stage!  Get ready for some laughs…

20:01 – USO President Sloan Gibson is at the podium thanking our great partners at United Through Reading, TAPS, National Military Family Foundation, The Moyer Foundation, Operation Homefront, United States Olympic Committee, Ride 2 Recovery.

20:09 – Past and present servicemen and women are asked to stand and be recognized, as are all of their family members.  Wounded warriors also stand to be recognized, and they receive a standing ovation!

20:17 – Madison Pettis is taking the stage to introduce our special video on United Through Reading – are you watching along with us on the live stream?

20:30 – Admiral Mullen is at the podium to begin the recognition of the Service Members of the Year.  We’re proud to honor Sergeant Zachary Caleb Dispennette, USA; Sergeant Eric B. Walker, USMC; Petty Officer Kenton J. Stacy, USN; Staff Sergeant Gino P. Kahaunaele, USAF (who is currently deployed, so his award is being presented to his mother, Kimberly Watkins), and Petty Officer Robert T. Emley, USCG.

21:00 – Trisha Yearwood is singing “How Do I Live Without You” right now and there’s not a dry eye in the house…

21:05 – Now she’s singing “We Shall Be Free,” a hit song by her husband, Garth Brooks!

21:20 – It’s time for dinner here at the gala, so take a few minutes to view our first photo album of the night!

21:50 – …and we’re back!  Trevor Romain is sharing a special message with the audience.  He travels around the world helping military kids with tough topics like deployment and loss of a loved one.  And his newest project with us will be specifically for children of wounded warriors – more details coming soon!

22:18 – Chairman of the USO’s Board of Governors Ed Reilly is getting ready to present Volunteer of the Year Herb Schmeling.

22:26 – Bill Engvall has the audience cracking up with a great story about the time he flew in a Thunderbird out of Nellis AFB.  Trust us, he was a little out of his element – ha!

22:34 – President and CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance David McIntyre is getting ready to present our Spirit of the USO award to Admiral Thad Allen!

22:43 – It’s all over and what a tremendous event it was!  Thanks for following along with us online and we invite you to visit USO.org for more photos and fun tomorrow morning…

Sons of Anarchy

Dayton Callie, Theo Rossi, Mark Boone Junior and Kim Coates on their first USO tour, Spring 2010. (USO photo by Erick Anderson)

What can we say about this amazing group of actors that hasn’t already been said by YOU, our amazing USO supporters?!   You love the Sons of Anarchy.  The Sons of Anarchy love the USO.  It’s perfect, right?  ‘Nuff said.

The Season Premiere airs September 7, and you can catch the show every Tuesday at 10pm EST.  The new season promo is below.  But first…

Check out a video they shot during their USO tour earlier this year!  Watch.  Share.  Repeat.  Enjoy.

Sons of Anarchy: On Tour, In Their Own Words

As FX’s Sons of Anarchy continue their tour of the Persian Gulf, they’re taking some time out to talk to military reporters about their experiences with the Troops.

Actors Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Theo Rossi and Dayton Callie are on an eight-day tour.  At right, Dayton Callie of FX’s Sons of Anarchy signs the poker table of a group of soldiers who traveled from Camp Buerhing to Camp Ali Al Salem for a chance to see some of the cast members form the hit series. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

They might play tough guys on the show, but we think they have hearts of gold!

More Adventures with the Sons of Anarchy

Actors Dayton Callie, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior and Theo Rossi from the FX hit series Sons of Anarchy pose with staff at USO Camp Al Al Salem as part of their first USO entertainment tour. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Actors Theo Rossi, Mark Boone Junior and Kim Coates sign autographs for service members as part of their first USO sponsored tour. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Sons of Anarchy cast members show off the USO coins they just received from the staff of USO Camp Ali Al Salem as a thank you for coming out to Kuwait. This was the first sponsored USO tour for Sons of Anarchy. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Mark Boone Junior of FX’s Sons of Anarchy signs the poker table of a group of soldiers who traveled from Camp Buerhing to Camp Ali Al Salem for a chance to see some of the cast members from the hit series. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)

Sons of Anarchy cast members show off a Harley Davidson banner with Troops, staff, and volunteers at Camp Ali Al Salem. (USO Photo by Duane DeVorak)