An Indianapolis Colts contingent of quarterback Andrew Luck, tight end Dwayne Allen and head coach Chuck Pagano will take part in a USO Tour of several countries led by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr.
They will also be joined by Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro, American Idol alumni Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, actor Dennis Haysbert, 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev, platinum recording artist and season 11 American Idol winner Phillip Phillips and movie and TV personality Jason “Wee Man” Acuna.
Various locations for the winter tour to visit with American troops will not be released for security reasons.
The tour will bring the best of sports, music, television and film together for troops and their families. Designed to be a moment-filled trip with high-energy shows and memorable base visits will span eight days in seven countries.
Part of an ongoing USO tradition of partnering with senior leaders and working with celebrities to bring a touch of home to troops serving abroad, Winnefeld has led two USO tours to seven different countries and created moments for more than 22,000 troops. Among the locations he has visited with the USO are Afghanistan, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Djibouti, Spain and the United Arab of Emirates as well as the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) at sea.
This trip will mark the sixth USO tour for Haybert; fourth for DeGarmo, third for Winnefeld and Young; second for Acuna; and the first USO experience for Pagano, Luck, Allen, DeCastro, Kazantsev and Phillips.
“America's military – men and women who represent the best of our communities – is serving in all corners of globe to protect our great nation and our freedoms,” Winnefeld said in a release. “As we embark on this eight-day, seven-country USO tour, our group of athletes and entertainers will express their personal gratitude to those serving by sharing their talents. This tour is particularly significant to Mary and me, as this is our last USO tour in this position as the Vice Chairman. We look forward to visiting America's sons and daughters who keep our nation safe and showing them that they will always have the support of those they serve.”
J.D. Courch II, USCO CEO and President, said, “When our troops and military families are deployed overseas, they miss the everyday comforts of home and USO tours become a welcome distraction from their daily routines. The USO is proud to once again partner with Admiral Winnefeld and all of these wonderful celebrity volunteers to let our military community know how much they are truly appreciated.”
The USO’s “Every Moment Counts” campaign invites Americans to join the Vice Chairman and his friends in honoring, saluting and creating moments that matter for our nation’s troops and their families. The campaign, much like this tour, centers around the countless every day moments – from family dinners and date nights to children’s births and bedtime stories – that our troops and their families selflessly sacrifice due to their commitment and service to our country. To learn more visit www.USOmoments.org.
The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. The goal is to provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. The USO also provides critical support to those who need it most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of corporate partners and the dedication of volunteers and staff.
In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, AT&T, BNSF Railway, Clark Construction Group, LLC, The Coca-Cola Company, JCPenney, Jeep, Johnson& Johnson, Kroger, Northrop Grumman Corporation and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: BAE Systems, BIC, The Boeing Company, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, GEICO, Harris Teeter, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation, Procter & Gamble, TKS Telepost Kabel-Service Kaiserslautern GmbH & Co. KG and Wawa Inc. The USO is also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit www.uso.org.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.