TAMPA, Fla. (Army News Service, May 16, 2007) - The Charlie Daniels Band treated Florida veterans to a special performance at the Florida State Fairgrounds' Ford Amphitheater here May 11. The show was the second stop of the 2007 Volunteer Jam Tour.

Before taking the stage, Charlie Daniels met with Soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I wish that all Americans could spend just one day among the brave men and women who defend this country in Iraq and Afghanistan," Mr. Daniels said. "They live in constant danger in dusty, desolate desert camps, wearing body armor in sweltering weather, missing their loved ones... The American forces are the finest in the world... I can't even articulate my love and admiration for them."

Sgt. Maj. Steve Valley, director of Army Public Affairs-Southeast, organized the military meet-and-greet with the entertainer.

"We were provided great seats for the show and got a chance to meet a music legend who genuinely appreciates the military," Sgt. Maj. Valley said. "It doesn't get much better than that."

Sgt. Jeffery L. Collins of the Florida National Guard's 53d Infantry Brigade Combat Team took the opportunity to tell Mr. Daniels how much he appreciated hearing him on the American Forces Network while he was serving in Afghanistan with Task Force Phoenix. A long time fan of Mr. Daniels, Sgt. Collins said the first CD he ever bought was by Charlie Daniels.

(Spc. Patrick A. Ziegler writes for U.S. Central Command Public Affairs.)