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U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, USO Stars Visit IJC
By U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Mary Hinson, ISAF Joint Command Public Affairs
Dec 14, 2009 - 5:12:00 PM
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Country music superstar Billy Ray Cyrus and two of his band members, Michael Sagraves and Samuel Hancock entertain troops in the passenger terminal at the KAIA airfield as they wait for their flight. The band, along with comedian Dave Attell, tennis pro Anna Kournikova, and tennis coach Nick Bollettieri are joining with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and his wife, Deborah Mullen, for a USO-sponsored holiday troop visit. (ISAF Joint Command photo by U. S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Craig P. Strawser)
KABUL, Afghanistan - The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and USO-sponsored celebrities visited members of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command at North Kabul International Airport military compound today.

U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen accompanied singer Billy Ray Cyrus, tennis star Anna Kournikova, comedian Dave Attell and legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri on the first stop in Afghanistan as part of a 13-show tour.

"It is great for us to be here in Kabul," said Admiral Mullen. "We are so appreciative of what you do and the difference you make."

"It was good for the troops to have the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff come down here," said Army Staff Sgt. Christian Price, enlisted aide to the IJC commander.

"It really meant a lot."

"It is a pleasant, unexpected surprise," agreed Air Force Lt. Col. Bob Dreyfus, Electronic Warfare Coordination Cell. "It reemphasizes just how important this (mission) is to us … a unified effort to help Afghanistan."

After the chairman spoke, he introduced each of his guests, who then addressed the waiting crowd. Mr. Bollettieri thanked the troops for their service, and the USO and Admiral Mullen for sponsoring the tour.

"It is an honor to be here," said Mr. Cyrus. "Thank you for bringing us over here to meet these heroes.

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

"I am extremely proud and privileged to be here," added Ms. Kournikova. "Thank you so much to you and your family for all you do."

The troops appreciated the time the stars gave to visit them in Afghanistan.

"It is excellent morale for the troops. (They) should come back again. This is what it is all about," said Sergeant Price from Savannah, Ga.

"They are very approachable and nice; it's rare to have the opportunity to be in an intimate, personal, and one-on-one situation with stars," said Army Maj. Larry Bonds Jr. of Memphis, Tenn. "I want to personally thank them for what they are doing for the troops."

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 
U.S. Army Major Armando Riveron explains the operation of the Combined Joint Operation Center in Kabul, Afghanistan to Country music superstar Billy Ray Cyrus, comedian Dave Attell, tennis pro Anna Kournikova, and tennis coach Nick Bollettieri. The celebrities are joining with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and his wife, Deborah Mullen, for a USO-sponsored holiday troop visit. (ISAF Joint Command photo by U. S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Craig P. Strawser)
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen talks with service members from the ISAF Joint Command, as they prepare to meet country music superstar Billy Ray Cyrus, comedian Dave Attell, tennis pro Anna Kournikova, and tennis coach Nick Bollettieri. The celebrities are joining Mullen and his wife, Deborah Mullen, for a USO-sponsored holiday troop visit. (ISAF Joint Commad photo by U. S. Navy Chief Mass Communication Specialist Craig P. Strawser)

 
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen talks with troops at the Kabul International Airport military compound Dec. 14. He visited the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command with a contingent of celebrities who are embarking on the 2009 USO Holiday Troop Visit, which is touring across Afghanistan to raise the morale of deployed troops. Billy Ray Cyrus, Anna Kournikova, Dave Attell and Nick Bollettieri are all participating in the tour. (ISAF Joint Command photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Gallahan)
 

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Gail
15 Dec 2009, 10:07
The troops will absolutely love Billy Ray Cyrus. He is not only a very talented musician and actor, he is the nicest person that you would ever want to meet. He will make them all feel like they are sitting on his front porch!
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