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PHOTOS: Vice Chairman's Tour Brings With It Sports Legends

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning, along with Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson and wide receiver Austin Collie, All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling, members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and "American Idol" alumni Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young recently set out to extend America's thanks to troops as part of a USO tour, led by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr.

The group is visiting deployed servicemen and women around the world to express a country's gratitude for their service and sacrifice while creating some lasting memories along the way.

 

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning finds himself in the midst of some of his favorite fans, our troops, on March 1.

 

Baseball legend Curt Schilling poses for photos with servicemen and women in Afghanistan on March 1.

 

Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson autographs this serviceman's shirt as part of the recent USO tour to Djibouti on Feb. 27.

 

Manning and the rest of the touring party is greeted by military staff and personel at Spain's Rota Airbase as part of his first USO tour.

"I'm grateful for the chance as Vice Chairman to partner with the USO and bring an amazing group of talented people to visit our troops abroad," Admiral Winnefeld said. "This is a great opportunity for these celebrities to see America's sons and daughters in action and to personally thank them for their service."

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Manning poses with troops following an awards ceremony where servicemen and women of Rota Airbase were recognized for their courage and dedication to their mission on Tuesday. Included among the awards presented that day were three Bronze Stars.

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Jackson gets some one-on-one time with the Vice Chairman.

"What a privilege it is to join the USO in supporting our brave men and women deployed thousands of miles away from home," Jackson said. "Their courage and commitment make the American way possible. I want to personally thank Admiral Winnefeld for inviting me on this journey and I salute the USO for their efforts to bring home away from home to our troops."

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Troops and military families at Sigonella Naval Air Base in Sicily, Italy, get treated to a performance by DeGarmo, left, and Young.

USO tour vet Diana DeGarmo said: "It’s an honor to be invited back by Admiral Winnefeld and an even greater honor to be able to let our troops know how much America appreciates their dedication."

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Schilling shares a personal message of thanks to troops as part of his second USO tour.

"I can’t think of a better way to spend my time than by going out with the USO and Admiral Winnefeld and letting our troops know how much they mean to us all," he said.

UPDATED, 3/19/13: For more images, click over to our Flickr page. And check back as the tour rolls on, we will post more images. 

(Photos by Dave Gatley – USO / Produced by Christian Pelusi) 

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