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Country Music Star Trace Adkins to Entertain Hundreds of Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors on Third USO Tour to Middle East. COB (Contingency Operating Base) Speicher, Iraq, third stop for the Trace Adkins USO Tour 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)
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Country Music Star Adkins Heads to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for Special 9/11 Concert

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

By Christian Pelusi 

Multi-platinum recording artist Trace Adkins has produced more than 20 singles on the Billboard country music charts, including three that reached No. 1, but it’s Adkins’ commitment to our country and the people who defend it that have made him and the USO such loyal friends and partners.

Adkins will be heading to Ramstein Air Base in Germany to perform a special concert for the troops and their families stationed there in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001. The concert will be broadcast live internationally on American Forces Network, beginning at 6 p.m. CEST (Europe)/ 7 p.m. AST (Baghdad) and stateside by The Pentagon Channel at noon EST/11 a.m. CST.

Adkins has made five tours with the USO and this sixth USO trip will be his first trip to Germany.

Adkins’ recollection of where he was when he heard the news that day is similar to so many Americans. That the day began like any other.

“I was actually in my garage, smoking a cigarette and having a cup of coffee, starting the day I always used to,” said Adkins in his familiar baritone voice. “I don’t smoke anymore. My daughter was born on the fourth [of September] and so we were home with a new baby. And I was watching the TV when the second plane hit. I was immediately shocked and I guess it took 10 seconds to go from shock to saying we’re going to have to kick somebody’s [butt].”

So it was no surprise that Adkins was one of the first entertainers to embark on the USO’s first tour to the Middle East following the tragedies. Adkins and others flew to Bahrain in Nov. 2002 and he still remembers the atmosphere.

“[It] was right on the eve of the beginning of the Iraq War,” he said. “So everybody was pretty amped up. Most of [the troops] there knew what was about to happen. It was pretty tense.”

That began a string of five tours over the next nine years that have led the country star to not only Bahrain and Afghanistan, but Iraq and Kuwait.

Roughly 2,000 soldiers attended the USO performance at Balad. All lighting and sound equipment is rented from a nearby country and carried into Iraq, in this case. Prior to each evenings show schedule, Trace Adkins visits with the troops at various locations within that base. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)“I always enjoy doing USO shows,” Adkins said. “You always run the gamut of emotions throughout the whole process. I usually try to tell people that the overriding sense for me is that when I come home I always feel a bit guilty, that they did more for me than I did for them. … That they did more to lift my spirits than I lifted theirs.”

His no-nonsense approach to music and life make him a favorite with the troops. A huge supporter of America’s Armed Forces and the USO, Adkins has performed live with the West Point Cadet Glee Club at the 2009 USO Gala, visited wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and was awarded the USO Merit Award in 2007, the Wounded Warrior Project’s (WWP) 2010 Talkhouse Award and the 2010 Medal of Honor from the Daughter’s of the American Revolution.

Adkins’ personality also lends itself to more than just singing. In 2008, he competed on Donald Trump’s reality show “Celebrity Apprentice” where he was runner-up to current CNN talk show host Piers Morgan. Earlier this year, he appeared in the film “The Lincoln Lawyer”, starring Matthew McConaughey and he will reprise his role as co-host (with Tony Award-winning performer Kristin Chenoweth) for the second annual American Country Awards on Dec. 5 in Las Vegas.

* See more images of past Trace Adkins tours. 

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Top left photo: Country Music Star Trace Adkins to Entertain Hundreds of Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors on Third USO Tour to Middle East. COB (Contingency Operating Base) Speicher, Iraq, third stop for the Trace Adkins USO Tour 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley) 

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