America Supports You: Toby Keith Wows Overseas U.S. Troops
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2007 Country music star Toby Keith again demonstrated red, white and blue patriotism mixed with down-home rhythm during his recent tour to entertain U.S. servicemembers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Country music star Toby Keith and his band perform for U.S. troops May 20 at Forward Operating Base Fenty in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Daniel M. Rangel
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
This is Keith’s fifth United Service Organizations-sponsored overseas trip to visit troops, and as always, the multi-platinum recording artist didn’t disappoint his camouflaged-clad fans.
Keith’s latest overseas tour includes a troop visit to Germany and precedes his upcoming “Big Dog Daddy” stateside tour named after his new compact disc slated for release in June.
In Iraq, Keith, 46, visited with servicemembers stationed in the Baghdad area and also performed a concert at Camp Victory on May 22. Before that, Keith spent May 19 and 20 with troops stationed in Afghanistan.
The Oklahoma-born entertainer personally greeted Iraq-deployed servicemembers and signed autographs. He also participated in a May 22 re-enlistment ceremony at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, one of 99 such palaces that once belonged to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
At Forward Operating Base Fenty at Jalalabad in northeastern Afghanistan on May 20, Keith saluted the troops for their dedication to duty.
“The reason that nobody back home on the news talks about what’s going on in Afghanistan is because there’s not much bad to say about it,” Keith said. “The (coalition forces have) done a wonderful job, so that’s the message I’m taking back (to the states).”
Keith said he wanted to key on visiting servicemembers stationed at smaller, out-of-the-way places during this year’s Afghanistan tour.
“Instead of just going to the big ones, we wanted to go into some places that have never had any entertainment,” he said at FOB Fenty.
After the show, the country music star hailed the troops for their service to the nation.
“Thank you for your sacrifice,” Keith told servicemembers at FOB Fenty. “I know when you’re over here for 18, 20 (or even 24 months) there are a lot of people being missed.”
On May 19, hundreds of servicemembers waited for hours to see Keith perform at Forward Operating Base Salerno, near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.
“I’ve wanted to see this guy since I was 13,” said Army Pfc. Tristan P. Winter, a forward observer in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “He’s my favorite country music singer, and I’m so excited to finally be able to see him.”
Keith soon returned Winter’s compliment, as the singer came on stage and was greeted by servicemembers’ thunderous applause.
“This is to all of you, when you’re rolling out at night watching each other’s back,” the performer told the military audience.
“I’ve got a lot of admiration for these guys and girls out on these bases who are getting out in the mud,” Keith, whose father was a U.S. Army veteran, added.
The USO is among the more than 250 businesses and organizations nationwide that participate in the Defense Department’s America Supports You program, which recognizes citizens’ support for military men and women and communicates that support to members of the U.S. armed forces here and abroad.
(Compiled from articles and photos provided by Army Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour, Multinational Corps Iraq Public Affairs; Army Pfc. Micah E. Clare, Task Force Fury PAO, Afghanistan; and Army Pfc. Daniel E. Rangel, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Afghanistan.)