Vice Chairman Greets Troops, Kicks Off USO Tour
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy, April 16, 2012 The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff thanked service members here today on the first stop of a USO tour.
Accompanied by his wife and a troupe of celebrities, Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. is bringing a taste of home to troops stationed in Europe and Southwest Asia this week.
“What a great privilege and pleasure it is for all of us to be here with all of you,” Winnefeld said. “Mary, my wife, joins me in thanking you for being here today and for doing what you do -- all you young men and women in uniform and your families.”
The USO tour is a way to help the nation thank them for all they do, the admiral told the service members here. “And especially for the tremendous work … that you all have done over the last year -- sending folks to Iraq, helping get rid of a tyrant in Moammar Gadhafi. Good job on that.”
The vice chairman also thanked the troops for helping deployed service members on the ground in Afghanistan. “It’s been a fantastic year, and I congratulate you for it.”
Winnefeld also thanked the celebrities joining him for the USO tour, and told troops they look forward to interacting with them.
Joining the vice chairman on the tour are comedian/actor Anthony Anderson; former Major League Baseball pitcher Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson; performer Jason “Wee-Man” Acuna; actor and pitchman Dennis Haysbert; Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders Allyson Traylor, Brittany Evans and Kelsi Reich; and former “American Idol” contestants Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young.
Winnefeld commended the USO for its decades of service and commitment to troops and for its efforts in coordinating this tour.
“I do want to thank the USO for the fantastic job they have done for decades, to say nothing of the fantastic job they've done putting this trip together,” Winnefeld said.