Miss Alabama contestants salute the troops
May 19, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker Soldiers were treated to a special variety show Friday at the post theater thanks to the ladies competing for the title of Miss Alabama.
The contestants, along with Ashley Davis, the current Miss Alabama, performed a variety of talents for the servicemembers including choreographed dancing, singing and playing musical instruments.
Prior to their individual performances, the ladies had the opportunity to tour various places on the installation and get to know some of the troops they would be entertaining later that day.
Each said they enjoyed their time here, but some parts of the tour stood out more than others for a few of the contestants.
"This was a great, eye-opening experience for us," said Caitlin Guffin, Miss Wiregrass Area. "We don't always get to see what Soldiers go through on a daily basis and this gave us a deeper appreciation of what they go through. Getting to shoot big guns in a simulator was a lot of fun, too."
Megan Picklesimer, Miss Shelby County, said she wasn't expecting the Soldiers to be as friendly and welcoming prior to visiting the post, and was pleasantly surprised to find the Soldiers so accommodating and approachable.
"I've always thought of what we see in movies when I thought of combat training, but what I saw here was not so much like what I had seen before," she said. "They really wanted us to understand their world and I learned so much more respect for what they do because of this experience. My favorite part of the tour was shooting the guns in the simulator. It was very liberating."
Ashley Davis, current Miss Alabama, said she enjoyed her time with the Soldiers this time as much, if not more, than her previous trip here last year.
"It's a really interesting exchange and opportunity for everyone involved," she said. "We want to be here because every American needs to understand that being a Soldier is not a job, it's a lifestyle and a sacrifice they and their Families live every day. We just want to say 'thank you' to them for everything they do for us."
After the performances, some of the Soldiers remarked on how much they appreciated the girls' gesture and they hope to see them again in the future.
"This was pretty awesome of them to come out and share their talents with us," said 2nd Lt. Justin Dillow, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment flight student. "They all did a great job and performed really well."
The show was also the first time some of those in attendance had ever experienced a USO-like performance.
"I really enjoyed the girls and saw that they have a lot of dedication to what they do," said 2nd Lt. Simon Teaff, B Co., 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt. flight student. "It was great that they got to experience more than the usual person who might take a tour here and that they were so interested in learning more about what we do every day."