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America Supports You: Country Star Tritt Honors Special Ops

American Forces Press Service

TAMPA, Fla., March 22, 2005 – Country music star Travis Tritt will join the Special Operations Warrior Foundation at an April 24 dinner honoring the special operations servicemembers killed 25 years ago during an ill-fated secret mission planned to rescue American hostages being held in Iran.

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Country music star Travis Tritt will perform at the Eagle Claw 25th Anniversary Dinner in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., April 24 to support the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships to the children of special operations personnel killed in training or on operational missions. The dinner marks the 25th anniversary of a failed attempt to rescue 53 Americans held hostage by Iranian militants. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The mission, nicknamed Eagle Claw, attempted to rescue the 53 Americans being held hostage in a heavily guarded embassy compound by Iranian militants. But a collision between an MH-53 helicopter and an Air Force C-130 resulted in eight servicemembers being killed and several others injured in an Iranian desert. The eight dead servicemembers left behind 12 children. The accident led to the founding of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The dinner will be held in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Tritt, who has been called "one of country music's most soulful and versatile vocalists" by Billboard magazine, will perform at the commemorative dinner.

A nonprofit organization, the foundation provides college educations to the children of special operations personnel killed in a training accident or operational mission. Today, the Warrior Foundation has 540 children in its program and 92 students enrolled in colleges and universities across the country, officials said.

Joining Tritt will be up-and-coming country artist Keni Thomas. Thomas, a former Army Ranger who fought in the now-famous battle depicted in the book and movie, "Black Hawk Down," has a new country CD, "Flags of Our Fathers," which is climbing the country charts. Proceeds from the sales of "Flags of Our Fathers" are benefiting the Warrior Foundation and its scholarship program.

The Eagle Claw 25th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner is open to the public and will be attended by many participants in the hostage rescue attempt as well as family members of those who were killed in the aircraft accident, event planners said.

"The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is honored to have the support and generosity of both Travis Tritt and Keni Thomas," said John T. Carney Jr., the foundation's president and chief executive officer. "Not only does their participation in this event help raise funds to provide the opportunity for a college education for some very deserving children, but it also serves as a reminder to our deployed troops that they, and their families, are not forgotten."

(From a Special Operations Warrior Foundation news release.)

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Related Sites:
America Supports You
Special Operations Warrior Foundation

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