USO Show Brings Laughter South of 'No Smile Line'
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
CAMP CASEY, South Korea, Aug. 21, 2005 Soldiers and airmen laughed and roared on the wrong side of the "No Smile Line" as they watched USO shows in South Korea today.
Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division reach for T-shirts thrown by USO celebrities at Camp Casey, South Korea, Aug. 21. Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers is in the midst of a 10-day trip with USO entertainers to thank troops for their dedication. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The shows -- one here and one at Osan Air Base -- were part of Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers' assessment of troop morale around the world, and Leeann Tweeden, Gale Sayers, Jeff Ross and Colin Quinn ensured the troops had fun.
Camp Casey, about 12 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, is the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division. Soldier myth has it that the area was a "No Smile" zone because the division's mission- to deter North Korean aggression - was such serious business.
Earlier in the day, the general and the USO troupe visited airmen at Osan Air Base, Korea. More than 1,000 airmen came to a hangar to watch the show and meet and greet the performers and the chairman.
The show, he said at both places, is an attempt to thank them for their service and their sacrifices. At Camp Casey, he also re-enlisted 45 soldiers.
The general told the servicemembers that America has always depended on the dedication of its military. He spoke about the new David McCollough book, "1776," and the way that ordinary Americans rose to the challenge of battle even at the nation's beginning.
Myers ceded the stage to Leeann Tweeden. A sportscaster and model, this is Tweeden's seventh USO trip. She is also the host of "NASCAR Nation" on the Speed Channel. Tweeden was master of ceremonies for the USO show.
She introduced NFL Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, who spoke to the men and women of the importance of teamwork. He reached back to his storied Chicago Bears career and told them that winning individual records is not be possible without the contributions of everyone on the team. Sayers thanked the servicemembers for what they do to protect America and the world.
Following Sayers was comedian Jeffrey Ross. Ross hit a home run at Camp Casey with some hilarious bits with the division sergeant major. This is his second USO tour. He captured his first outing on video and produced a feature film from it called "Patriot Act." The film won best picture at the Montreal Comedy Festival.
Colin Quinn followed Ross. Quinn is best known for his work on "Saturday Night Live" and MTV. His comedy renditions include imitations of British soldiers. One of his routines likens the situation in the Middle East to a bar fight.
Korea was just the latest stop in the chairman's tour. He has already visited Germany, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq, the USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf, Djibouti and Afghanistan.
At the end of the show, servicemembers crowded around the celebrities and the Joint Chiefs chairman for pictures, autographs and just to shake hands. As they walked out of the gym at Camp Casey, they were still laughing about some of the lines.
"This proves there's no such thing as the No Smile Line, don't you think," said Maj. Gen. George Higgins, 2nd Infantry Division commander.