By David Vergun
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten joined other top officials and USO entertainers as they visited Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania.
Hyten and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramon “CZ” Colon-Lopez are hosting the Chairman’s 2020 USO New Year’s Tour on behalf of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley. Traveling with Hyten and Colon-Lopez is the USO President J.D. Crouch II, who also met hundreds of U.S., Canadian and Romanian troops on the tour stop.
While in Romania, Hyten also met with country’s Chief of Defense Lt. Gen. Daniel Petrescu. The two military leaders discussed a range of issues, including the shared challenges faced in Europe and ways to increase coordination in areas of mutual interest.
During the USO show, troops cheered and laughed as the entertainers cracked jokes, sang and even had a baseball pitching contest. The entertainers included:
Washington Nationals baseball pitcher Aaron Barrett and right fielder Adam Eaton.
They showed off the World Series trophy the Nats won this season, and service members posed for photos with the trophy.
Actors Matt Walsh (of HBO’s VEEP) and Brad Morris, plus comedian Scot Armstrong.
They cracked some jokes and told some whoppers that had service members in stitches.
DJ J. Dayz and country music duo LoCash.
They hit it big with their music, including LoCash’s hit “I Love This Life,” which service members sang along to.
Bellator women’s flyweight world champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Bellator hype-girl Natalie Ficarra, plus and Ultimate Fighting Championship top contender Felicity Herrig.
They were knockout sensations, challenging service members to some interesting matches.
The USO performers volunteered to participate in variety-style shows and troop engagements to show service members that Americans value their service. They will visit other locations in Europe over the next few days.
“It is important to bring a piece of home to our deployed service members to show America’s commitment while they serve in defense of our nation,” Hyten said.
Then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers started the annual tours in 2003 to express thanks and appreciation to deployed service members away from home for the holidays.
“Over the course of my military career, I have witnessed firsthand how the USO serves as a force behind the forces, supporting our people and their families wherever they are stationed around the globe,” Colon-Lopez said.
“I am excited to join the vice chairman on our first USO Tour and to have the opportunity to meet and thank forward-deployed members of our joint force team.”
-This story originally appeared on defense.gov. It has been edited for USO.org.
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