Gen. Dempsey Enlists Support From Array of Entertainers for Annual USO Holiday Tour
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
A USO veteran leads a team of USO entertainment rookies on the annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USO tour to visit deployed troops this holiday season.
Joining Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey are: six-time USO tour entertainer and critically-acclaimed country music singer Kellie Pickler; Washington Nationals pitchers Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen; Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks and comedian and host of the CBS show "Excused" Iliza Shlesinger.
For security reasons, the specific countries and dates of the tour cannot be released in advance.
"This trip is incredibly special to me for two reasons,” Gen. Dempsey said. “First and foremost, the holidays are always the toughest time of the year on our nation’s troops, a time when they are really missing their family and friends and could really use America’s support, so a care package from home means a lot to them. The second reason this tour is important, is my fondness of the USO. As a young lieutenant back in 1974, who had just arrived in Germany and was lost, I visited a USO center and spoke with a nice lady who happily helped me. I will never forget that day and I look forward to taking the tour with me again this year.”
Pickler said: "I love our nation’s troops and the USO. I stand by everything they do and all the wonderful things they represent. I am truly honored to have been asked to accompany Gen. Dempsey on his USO holiday tour and can’t wait until the tour kicks off, so I can go over and meet more great servicemen and women.”
Pickler traveled to Kuwait and Afghanistan in May 2012 and participated in her first USO holiday tour in 2008, led by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.
The USO has worked with the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since 2000. Last December, Gen. Dempsey led his first annual holiday tour as Chairman, delivering holiday cheer to more than 7,100 servicemen and women stationed in five countries. Capping off that tour, the group, along with President Barack Obama and other national leaders, attended a flag ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base that signified the official end of the eight-year war in Iraq.
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Photo caption: Gen. Dempsey shares a laugh with his wife, Deanie, on last year's holiday tour. (Photo credit: Dave Gatley / USO)
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