PHOTOS: Gen. Dempsey Sets Out on First USO Tour With Top Talent in Tow
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey leads his first-ever USO holiday tour overseas, bringing with him recording artist Jordin Sparks, actress and model Minka Kelly, seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry and comedian Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles.
This tour is part of an ongoing USO tradition of partnering with senior leaders and working with celebrity entertainers to bring a touch of home to troops stationed abroad. The USO has worked with the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since 2000.
Gen. Dempsey's eight-day, four-country USO tour is designed to deliver a much-needed break to those on the front lines by ensuring all Marines, airmen, soldiers, sailors, Coast guardsmen and serving civilian employees get the chance to take photos, obtain autographs and spend time with his star-studded guests.
From left to right, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey and his wife, Deanie, pose for a photo with Robert Horry, Jordin Sparks, Minka Kelly, Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles and Sergeant Major Bryan Battaglia and his wife, Lisa, just prior to departing on a nine-day, four-country USO holiday tour. This is the first USO tour for Horry, Sparks and Miles and the second for Kelly, who traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2008.
Gen. Dempsey shares a laugh with his wife, Deanie, as they watch the stand-up routine of comedian Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles at Camp Buehring located in the northwestern region of Kuwait.
Jordin Sparks poses for a photo with a group of female fans following a USO performance in front of more than 2,200 troops stationed at Camp Buehring.
"I have had such a blast on this trip," Sparks said. "It is funny, you have in your mind what you think this trip will be like, but then you fly over and it is nothing like you expected ... it is more. Chairman Dempsey, the USO, all the military personnel on the ground have all been amazing and I salute them for their service."
Minka Kelly takes a snapshot with a service member by holding his cell phone up for the modern-day mug shot. This trip marks the second USO tour for Kelly, who traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2008 with actor Dave Annable.
"Gen. Dempsey's USO holiday tour has been nothing short of amazing," Kelly said. "Everyone I have met and spent time with are extraordinary. There are no words to describe how I am feeling. I am in complete awe of everything and cannot them everyone enough."
The group poses for a true group shot with the servicemen and women in the background.
"This trip has been life-changing," Miles said. "Never before have I seen so many young men and women carry such great weight on their shoulders and do so with ease and skill. They are all examples of who we should be and I can't thank them enough."
Robert Horry addresses the audience at Fort Buehring in Kuwait.
"I've always been big on family. And now thanks to Gen. Dempsey and the USO, I have an even bigger one made up of all of the men and women I’ve met on this trip," Horry said. "Each of them hold a great amount of responsibility and do so with dignity and skill. I will keep them all close to my hear and pray for their safe return home."
So far, this tour has visited seven military locations and lifted the spirits of more than 3,100 service men and women stationed in Kuwait. Some of the places visited so far include the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, Camp Buehring, Camp Virginia and Camp Arifjan.
Gen. Dempsey takes time to thank the troops for their service.
* Find more images of the stars and the tour on our Flickr set.
USO Photos by Dave Gatley / Produced by Christian Pelusi
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