America Supports You: Wrestling Program to Feature Tribute to Troops
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2005 The World Wrestling Entertainment RAW TV show will feature a special "Tribute to the Troops" program tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern time on the USA Network.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon and WWE RAW superstars recently returned from their "Tribute to the Troops" tour of Afghanistan, where they met with thousands of men and women in the U.S. military carrying the message "America Supports You," according to a WWE news release.
"Monday Night RAW: Tribute to the Troops" will feature matches between WWE superstars held at a special RAW taped on Dec. 9 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in front of 4,000 servicemembers. The program will show the interaction of the WWE superstars with the troops as they toured forward operating bases on the front lines, according to the release.
The show will also provide profiles of U.S. servicemembers talking about their experiences in Afghanistan and sending messages to loved ones back home. This is the third straight year that the WWE has entertained U.S. servicemembers stationed abroad.
WWE, a member of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, wanted to do this tour to give something back to the troops overseas, Gary Davis, a WWE spokesman, said.
"WWE has a tremendous fan base within the U.S. military, and it seemed fitting that we do something out of the ordinary for that fan base, as our men and women in the military are being deployed around the world to fight for our freedom," Davis said.
The superstars visited several forward operating bases. They spoke with soldiers working to rebuild Afghanistan and make it better, according to the release. On Dec. 16, the superstars performed Monday Night RAW for the troops, capping off an eventful three days.
An addition to this year's tour was the attendance of MSNBC correspondent Rita Cosby, host of "Rita Cosby: Live and Direct." Cosby covered the tour for MSNBC, hosting two live shows from Afghanistan that featured most of the WWE RAW superstars on the tour and discussed the U.S. military's accomplishments in Afghanistan, according to the release.
Two previous WWE tours visited Iraq, but this year the representatives went to Afghanistan to remind the troops there that they are not forgotten, Davis said. "There is so much work going on there, and the accomplishments of the troops there don't really get highlighted because of the activity going on in Iraq," he said.
Davis said the WWE stars had a tremendous experience with the troops, who keep positive attitudes despite working in difficult conditions.
"We were just overwhelmed by the appreciation shown by the troops for having us come over to entertain them, and yet we were so humbled by the devotion, the morale and the dedication of the troops," he said. "Anything anyone can do for those troops, we should be doing."