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Patriotic Article
Noble Efforts

By TSgt. John Jung

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USO Tour Brings Celebrities, Cheer To Bagram Servicemembers
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Billy Ray Cyrus, singer/actor, entertains the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines at Bagram Airfield during a United Service Organization tour Dec. 15, 2009.
Billy Ray Cyrus, singer/actor, entertains the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines at Bagram Airfield during a United Service Organization tour Dec. 15, 2009. Mr. Cyrus, Dave Attell, Anna Kournikova, and Nick Bollettieri attended the USO tour to boost the morale of the servicemen and women. Mrs. Kournikova is a tennis pro originally from Russia and now lives in Miami, Fla. Mr. Attell, a comedian, is originally from Queens, N.Y. Mr. Cyrus hails from Flatwoods, Ky. Mr. Bollettieri, tennis coach/motivational speaker and hails from Pelham, N.Y.  U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Felicia Juenke
  BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (12/17/2009 - AFNS) -- Hundreds of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines gathered here Dec. 15, to enjoy a United Service Organizations' Holiday Troop Visit tour featuring country singer and actor Billy Ray Cyrus, tennis pro Anna Kournikova, acclaimed comedian Dave Attell and legendary tennis coach and inspirational speaker Nick Bollettieri.

The celebrities are joining The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen and his wife, Deborah Mullen, for an USO-sponsored holiday troop visit as part of a 13-show whirlwind tour to boost the troops' spirits during the holiday season.

Mr. Atell, known for his unique humor on Comedy Central, warmed up the crowd and had them laughing and clapping with his signature comedy before Mrs. Kournikova and Mr. Bollettieri addressed the assembled crowd with inspirational stories.
Both tennis greats thanked all the servicemembers for their sacrifices while deployed in harm's way.

"I am extremely proud and privileged to be here," said Mrs. Kournikova. "Thank you so much to you and your family for all you do. It's just an incredible honor for me to come out and visit you guys and try to spread the holiday spirit. I really hope you enjoy the show."

"There is nothing better than doing shows for you guys," added Mr. Attell, who has been a part of five previous USO shows.

"It is an honor to be here. Thank you for being over here and being our heroes," said Mr. Cyrus before performing several of his most popular songs including 'Achy-Breaky Heart' and the patriotic 'Some Gave All.'

In an interview after the show, Mrs. Mullen wrapped up by saying, "I wish more people [like these celebrities] in the U.S. could come out and see the servicemen and women and the difficult environment that they work and live in. They're far from home and far from their loved ones and families, and being able to come and see them and talk with them, and to see the joy in their faces... it's a privilege that I have, and one that I will keep and treasure as long as I live."

By USAF TSgt. John Jung
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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