Feature   Know Your Military

Fore! PGA Tour Golfers to Visit Djibouti Troops

Nov. 29, 2018 | BY Katie Lange

Being stationed in the hot, dry desert climate of Djibouti, Africa, around the holidays probably isn’t very festive. But Camp Lemmonier, the U.S. Navy-led installation in the Horn of Africa, is where about 4,000 military, civilian and Defense Department contractors call home right now, so they’ll have to make do.

You could say the holiday festivities are not on par with what they’d find at home. So that’s why the USO is bringing par to them!

And by that I mean five PGA Tour golfers are heading to Camp Lemonnier in early December to bring them holiday cheer.

Billy Hurley III, Shaun Micheel, Kyle Thompson, Kris Blanks and David Hearn will visit the Africa installation to thank service members for their sacrifices this holiday season, as well as to teach the resident golf enthusiasts a few tricks of the trade.

Each of the golfers have ties to the military, so it’s especially exciting for them.

Navy Lt. Billy Hurley III salutes other sailors in uniform
Hurley Salute
Navy Lt. Billy Hurley III salutes sailors in his division after morning quarters aboard the Pearl Harbor-based Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon, Aug. 27, 2008. Hurley served as Chung-Hoon's first lieutenant along with being a professional golfer.
Photo By: Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Lantron
VIRIN: 080827-N-BS627-024

Hurley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004 and served as a naval surface warfare officer for five years before becoming a pro golfer. He’s still the only golfer from a service academy to ever play on the PGA Tour. In fact, he even won the 2016 Quicken Loans National, a major achievement.

Micheel’s father was a cryptologist for a highly classified group acting on behalf of the Air Force Security Service, so he naturally took an interest in the military. As a pro golfer, he’s flown with the 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia and the Naval Fighter Weapons School of “Top Gun” fame in Nevada. He spends a lot of time with veterans and has introduced them to his son, too.

“History books provide my son with context and background, but nothing replaces a lesson from someone who was really on the battlefield,” Micheel said.

Golfer Shaun Micheel wears a flight suit while talking to a flight instructor.
Shaun Micheel
PGA golfer Shaun Micheel suits up to fly with some of the best at the Naval Fighter Weapons School, (TOPGUN) in Fallon, Nevada.
Photo By: Courtesy
VIRIN: 110611-O-ZZ999-716

Thompson’s family has a long history of military service, including his grandfather, who stormed Omaha Beach during D-Day. His father and four of his uncles went on to serve, too, so he’s looking forward to honoring the men and women who have followed in their footsteps.

Blanks was a military brat, so he’s no stranger to service. He spent his childhood living on military bases, so he continues to have deep respect for the sacrifices made by service members and their families.

Hearn grew up in Canada with a grandfather who served in that country’s army during World War II. He said he’s in awe of military personnel and what they and their families do for their country. He’s excited to learn more about life during deployment while he’s in Djibouti.

We can’t wait to hear what the trip was like and how the golf lessons worked out!