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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 577-99
December 20, 1999

COHEN'S HOLIDAY TRIP TO ENTERTAIN TROOPS IN EUROPE

Secretary of Defense William Cohen and his wife, Janet Langhart Cohen, will lead a delegation of entertainers and celebrities in a pre-holiday visit to deployed American military members in Europe. The four-day tour, which includes stops in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Italy, starts Dec. 20, 1999.

Accompanying the Cohens on their visit are Grammy Award winning singer Mary Chapin Carpenter, recording artists Ruth Pointer, Shane Minor, John Carroll, Mary Ann Redmond and Reginald Royal, football greats Terry Bradshaw and Mike Singletary, soccer star Marco Etchevery of the DC United, and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. The trip will also include celebrity and model Christie Brinkley, comedians Al Franken and Sean Kanan, and video music personality Julie Brown.

The delegation will be performing hour-long shows, produced by the United Service Organization (USO) in each of the stops. The delegation will meet with troops in Tuzla, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, Camp Able Sentry in Macedonia, Aviano Air Force Base in Italy and aboard the USS Bataan in Naples, Italy. The Department of Defense will have video footage of the shows available the week of December 27th though the Department's Internet website http://www.defenselink.mil.

Secretary and Mrs. Cohen will also help distribute gifts to deployed service members throughout the trip. These gifts include footballs courtesy of the Washington Redskins and the National Football League Properties and soccer balls from the DC United. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW are also providing 2,000 prepaid telephone cards for troops deployed in Kosovo as part of their Operation Uplink program to thank active military forces stationed around the world. An additional 2,000 prepaid phone cards will be distributed by the VFW in Europe as well as by VFW posts in the United States when they know of troops leaving for Kosovo.