By Danielle DeSimone

Jerrod Niemann’s support of the military has become a personal one after participating on USO tours.

“I’m very protective of those who protect us,” said Niemann. “And I know that the USO serves those who serve.”

The country music singer and songwriter, who has sold over 20 million albums and downloads, has always been a passionate supporter of service members. However, after hearing about the Niger ambush of U.S. troops on Oct. 4, 2017, which resulted in the fatalities of four soldiers, Niemann was especially affected. While watching the news coverage, he was struck by his memories of meeting service members at concerts over the years and the personal stories that they had shared with him.

So he began to write.

“It was probably the most emotional song I’ve ever written,” said Niemann. “It all just started to…fall out. It’s weird how that happens. Sometimes you can write a song and it’ll take months, and sometimes when they’re meant to happen, they just come flying out.”

The song that emerged from this emotional writing session was “Old Glory,” which is told from the perspective of a soldier and highlights the sacrifices that many service members make in service to this country. One of the goals of the song, according to Niemann, was to bring people together and raise awareness of these sacrifices. “As a civilian, it’s easy to become desensitized and forget that we’re all people and that all of our brave men and women are having the same emotions that we do, but half a world away,” said Niemann. “Their work is just that much harder.”

Niemann first performed “Old Glory” this past December on the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s annual USO Holiday Tour of 2017. He sang the song for the first time in front of an audience of service members at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan; the crowd gave him a standing ovation. “I had chills,” said Niemann.

Niemann has continued to join the USO on tours to play for military audiences throughout the U.S. and the world. He was excited to learn all that the USO does to support service members through its various programs, in addition to entertainment tours, saying, “There’s such a wide spectrum and umbrella to the USO that allows our military to just really have a better life.”

Most recently, Niemann visited Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, on Sept. 28, 2018, to share a casual jam session with a few service members and their families, get a tour of the base and perform a concert for the entire base.

Niemann feels so strongly about his experiences of performing overseas for troops that he has even brought his wife on a tour. “It made me proud that I could come home and tell people what I saw for myself,” he explained. For Niemann, his USO tours have been “without a doubt, the greatest experience as a human being on this planet that I have in my memory. I will go every year if I’m asked.”

Service members give Jerrod Niemann a tour of the base and explain their duties at Fort Hood.
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Service members give Jerrod Niemann a tour of the base and explain their duties at Fort Hood.

Service members give Jerrod Niemann a tour of the base and explain their duties at Fort Hood.
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Service members give Jerrod Niemann a tour of the base and explain their duties at Fort Hood.

Jerrod Niemann poses with service members while on a tour of Fort Hood.
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Jerrod Niemann poses with service members while on a tour of Fort Hood.

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