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Kate Walsh (USO Photo)
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PHOTOS: Actors Penn, Walsh Spread Joy During USO Tour to Middle East

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

For a recent USO Entertainment tour, the USO called upon an actor, producer and veteran USO Entertainer to help guide a new USO Entertainment tour celebrity on a whirlwind tour of three Middle East countries in seven days. Kal Penn (“Harold and Kumar,” “House,” “The Big Brain Theory”) and actress/activist Kate Walsh (“Private Practice,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) embarked on the trip May 22 to visit, uplift and spend time with hundreds of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and reservists. The trip marked the third USO tour for Penn.

Penn said prior to the trip: “[When] you get there, you realize that [your presence] does make a difference. These are men and women who are literally sacrificing everything. If all I have to do is give a couple of days and hang out with them, what an incredible opportunity to spend time with some of the bravest, smartest people you’ll ever meet.” (For more images, visit our Flickr page.) 

 

 

Penn and Walsh pose for photographs with troops as part of a weeklong USO tour to the Middle East on May 22.

 

Walsh listens to a military briefing during a USO tour stop in the Middle East on May 22. This is Walsh's first USO tour. Walsh said: “I feel honored to volunteer with the USO and spend time with our nation’s men and women in uniform. This trip means a lot to me personally. My father was a decorated Korean War veteran and I take great pride in his service.”

 

Penn takes time out to pose for photographs, sign autographs and mingle with troops as part of a USO tour stop in the Middle East. Penn said: “Touring with the USO is one of the most rewarding experiences of all time. Nothing quite compares to the unique places you get to see, the personal stories you hear, the great things you learn or the lifetime memories you walk away with."

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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Roger Kemp of Decatur, Mich., assists Walsh with a fire helmet during one of many USO tour stops in the Middle East on May 22. Walsh said upon returning from the tour: “The level of commitment and service and discipline I witnessed was very humbling and very inspiring."

 

Penn and Walsh hang out with Desert Snowman during a USO tour stop in the Middle East. “When I first started volunteering five years ago, I’ve witnessed first-hand how the USO is always by the side of our troops stationed around the world and I’m thrilled to be a part of something that special,” Penn said.

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Penn and Walsh pose holding pencil and graphite drawings of themselves produced by Senior Airman Andrew Castillo, U.S. Air Force, of Northampton, Mass., during their tour.

(To view more photos, visit our Flickr page.) 

Read our interview with Kal Penn on his reflections of past tours. 

Join the USO to Honor, Salute and Celebrate Our Troops and Their Families during our current campaign. Learn more today. 

(Photos by Steve Manuel for the USO / Produced by Christian Pelusi) 

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