The USO's 75th Anniversary Spring Tour landed at Camp Arifjan,
Kuwait, and showcased celebrities that entertained service members
stationed on the base March 15, 2016.
Service members in
attendance at the event got the opportunity to meet and greet
country singer Craig Morgan, Miss America Betty Cantrell, NFL player
Charles Tillman, and mixed martial artists Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
and Anthony Pettis.
The USO's 75th Anniversary Spring Tour featuring (from left to
right) country singer Craig Morgan, mixed martial artist Donald
“Cowboy” Cerrone, Gen. Paul J. Selva, the vice chairman of the joint
chiefs of staff, Miss America Betty Cantrell, MMA fighter Anthony
Pettis, NFL player Charles Tillman entertained service members at
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 15, 2016. Service members attending the
concert, including ameet and greet, took time away from their daily
routines to enjoy a little piece of home. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Youtoy Martin)
“(The event) took my mind off everything, if even for an
hour or so,” said Capt. Ray Bramblet, a safety officer with
Area Support Group – Kuwait and a native of Calhoun,
Georgia. “To have somebody come here from my home state,
Miss America, and Craig Morgan made me forget the day-to-day
grind that we face here.”
Morgan, who wrapped up the
event, is no stranger to military life or USO tours. He has
served with the USO for over 15 years and also served over
nine years of active duty in the Army. Morgan echoes the
Army's Soldier for Life initiative.
“The military is
a bigger part of my life, even more than the music,” said
Morgan. “I've spent more time in the military than the music
business up to this point.”
The military is not just
something you do, it's a part of your personality, it's who
you are, said Morgan.
“For me to come over and
entertain the men and women who are serving is very
humbling,” added Morgan. “It becomes emotional for me,
because I have served and it's been a part of my life and
During his session on stage, Morgan asked
if anyone was a song writer in the audience, to which many
said yes, but one brave Soldier raised his hand. He was
invited to the stage where he was tasked to create lyrics to
a song on the spot along with Morgan.
Country singer Craig Morgan leads a round of applause for Sgt. Mark
Bail, a Department of Public Works quality control noncommissioned
officer with Area Support Group-Kuwait, during the USO's 75th
Anniversary Spring Tour at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, March 15, 2016.
Bail was called on stage by Morgan to sing an improvised song and
received an autographed guitar afterward. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Youtoy Martin)
“I was really nervous, but it was really awesome,” Sgt.
Mark Bail, a Department of Public Works quality control
noncommissioned officer with Area Support Group – Kuwait.
“I've been on the stage a lot and I've been a singer/song
writer for several years, it's something I enjoy. Being put
on the spot it was kind of nerve racking, but it was a lot
Bail, a native of Athens, Ohio, said he has
been a singer/songwriter for over 15 years. He held his own
on the stage and in the end received an autographed electric
guitar from Morgan.
“It's awesome for them to take
time out of their schedules to show support for us,” said
Bail. “This place can get really mundane, stuff like this
boosts the camp up. To have big names like these come out
here and support us is just amazing.”
The event was
hosted by Cantrell, who sung a few numbers for troops, a
talent she used in winning the Miss America crown. Mixed
martial arts fighters Cerrone and Pettis along with NFL
cornerback Tillman brought comic relief to the stage. They
entertained questions from the audience, tossed out fighting
gloves and footballs to the crowd, and thanked the troops
for their service.
Tillman, a 14-year NFL member
with the Carolina Panthers, said had it not been for a
career in football, his plan was to join the military.
His father served 20 years in the Army before retiring
out of Fort Hood, Texas, he said. Now on his 4th USO tour,
Tillman relates overcoming adversity after not playing in
Super Bowl due to injury, and resiliency every service
member should have.
“I realize it wasn't a time for
me to feel sorry for myself,” said Tillman. “It was about my
teammates, the guy next to me. I tried to be the best coach,
cheerleader, water boy, trainer, and equipment manager.
Being one of the senior guys on the team, I had to take a
step back and motivate the other players. I was on the
sidelines getting my guys motivated and squared away.”
Although he didn't go the military career route, Tillman
said, he is grateful for everything the military does in
keeping everyone safe back home and his role on the tour is
to extend a huge thank you.
“I think we can serve in
many ways and right now, my way is to let everyone in the
military know, worldwide, that I am so appreciative,” said
Tillman. “I know liberty is not free, so I'm grateful for
what all service members provide for us.”
Learn more about the
USO, including how to become a volunteer and/or donor
By U.S. Army Sgt. Youtoy Martin
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