Kellie Pickler completes her sixth USO tour to perform for U.S. troops
Singer’s weeklong tour included four countries in the Middle East and an aircraft carrier
Kellie Pickler returned to the United States this week from the Middle East following her sixth USO tour overseas to perform to U.S. troops. This year, she was part of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s annual USO holiday tour.
Joining her on the seven-day, four-country tour were comedian Iliza Shlesinger and athletes Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen of the Washington Nationals, and Matt Hendricks of the Washington Capitals. All of the celebrities participated in a number of hospital visits and USO meet and greets at stops including Bagram Air Base and Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan; U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart in Germany; and a visit with sailors stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, among other locations.
“It’s always different coming here this time of year,” Pickler told the troops, prior to her performance at Kandahar Airfield on Dec. 16. “[During] the holidays, everyone wants to be home with their families and loved ones. And I know it’s just as hard for [your] families back home, so they’re making a sacrifice as well. I just want to say thanks so much for all that you do, and thank you to your families as they make a huge sacrifice. This time of year is really hard, so I hope that you know that we love you. The USO, all of us, we are praying for a safe return home for you all.”
Pickler is pictured above sitting in a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle simulator during a USO holiday tour stop at the Transit Center of Mansas, Kyrgyzstan.
about the blogger
Veteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark has been reporting extensively on the music industry for two decades. As a freelance writer, her work appears regularly in numerous publications and sites. She previously was Nashville Bureau Chief at Billboard magazine.