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Vice Chairman’s Final USO Tour Visits Eucom, Centcom

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Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva wrapped up his fourth and final USO tour this week.

Selva spent five days on tour — from March 30 through April 3 — in six countries in the U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility. Stops included Germany, Afghanistan, Qatar, Iraq and Italy.

Men fist bump on stage.
USO Tour
Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, kicks off a USO Show at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar; the fourth stop on the annual Vice Chairman’s USO Tour, April 1, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. James K. McCann
VIRIN: 190401-D-SW162-2080E

"This tour is first and foremost about thanking the men and women in uniform and their families for what they do every day for our nation," he said.

Selva thanked the entertainers with him, and said that in an effort to boost the military’s morale, the USO regularly teams up with the country’s biggest stars to stage comedy shows, concerts, meet and greets, unit visits and other interactive events for service members and their families stationed stateside and overseas.

The celebrities echoed Selva’s thanks during their performances, which required a lot of audience participation and resulted in many laughs and cheers throughout.

"Thank you for serving, for being here downrange," former Major League Baseball star Shane Victorino said. "It means a lot to me. Something I will never take for granted is to be an American and live in the United States of America. Thanks very much for all that you guys do."

The show at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, closed with a performance by country music star Craig Morgan and his band — plus a special guest. Selva joined the band onstage with his guitar to play and sing along for the last few songs. Several attendees sang along throughout, and nearly the entire audience joined in the closing song: "America the Beautiful."

"I’ve always been a huge fan of Craig Morgan because I grew up on country music, but I’ve never had the chance to see him live, and it was really awesome," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tabitha Thomas, a command post controller at the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram. "Seeing the vice chairman play with him was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience as well, so I’m glad I was there to see it."

The Entertainers:

Craig Morgan, country music singer/songwriter and Army veteran
Robert Irvine, celebrity chef and talk show host
Chris Weidman, former ultimate fighting championship middleweight champion
B.J. Penn, former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion
Felice Herrig, UFC fighter
Shane Victorino, former outfielder for the San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox
Makua Rothman, professional surfer

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Locations Visited:

Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 30
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 31
Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, April 1
Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 1
Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center, Iraq, April 2
Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, April 2
U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, Italy, April 3

Man sings while another cooks
Celebrity Chef
Celebrity chef Robert Irvine cooks while a USO entertainer sings during a USO Show at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center, Iraq; the fifth stop on the annual Vice Chairman’s USO Tour, April 2, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. James K. McCann
VIRIN: 190402-D-SW162-2160C

More About the USO:

  • The USO was created in February 1941 by President Franklin Roosevelt and is the only military support organization chartered by Congress.
  • Each year, the USO produces more than 50 entertainment tours, bringing hundreds of individual shows to hundreds of thousands of American service members around the world.
  • In 2018, the USO deployed 96 celebrities on 41 tours, eight of which visited combat zones, to 19 countries and 25 states, entertaining about 88,000 service members and military families.
  • USO centers provide programs, entertainment and services at more than 200 locations around the world, including Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy, Japan, Iraq, South Korea and the U.S.
  • In 2017, USO centers were visited more than 7 million times by service members and their families, including 25,000 visits a month to centers in Afghanistan and 39,000 visits a month to centers in Kuwait.

A group of people pose in front of an aircraft holding a USO flag.
Banner Return
Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and USO entertainers pose for a group photo to conclude the annual Vice Chairman’s USO Tour at Joint Base Andrews, Md., April 4, 2019
Photo By: Army Sgt. James K. McCann
VIRIN: 190404-D-SW162-1085

Air Force Capt. Anna Wyant of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing contributed to this article.

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