CASEY GARRISON South Korea - Special guests delivered Yuletide cheer to the USAG-Casey Carey Fitness Center on a cold, snowy, Christmas night. None, however, was a big fat guy wearing red. Better yet, the large audience of Division Soldiers and Family members enjoyed a visit from a much more visually appealing team of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

The "American Sweethearts," as the cheerleaders are known during community appearances, entertained a packed gym with high energy dance routines and trademark tiny outfits set to a blend of hip hop, country, rock 'n' roll, patriotic-themed and even gospel music.

For their first routine, the cheerleaders took the stage in their trademark blue and white uniforms. With a big smile and a brief but energetic dance performance, each of the 11 cheerleaders introduced herself to the audience and received thunderous applause. Feeding off the energy of the mostly male crowd, one still-breathless cheerleader promised the cheerleaders would respond in proportion to the volume of audience cheers. The Soldiers' response was enthusiastic, immediate and loud.

After a quick change of costume, the ladies reappeared on stage dressed in camouflage-patterned outfits when reveille sounded. The cheerleaders went through a physical fitness training-themed routine, conducting the "side-straddle hop" and other PT activities while maintaining perfect choreography to a blend of hip-hop drill music and staying in step with marching precision.

Highlighting the Christmas spirit, the cheerleaders on numerous occasions changed into holiday-themed costumes. Decked out in a short red dress with white "Santa Claus" trim, one cheerleader serenaded the crowd of Warriors with Marilyn Monroe's 1950's hit "Santa Baby," breathlessly proclaiming she had been an awfully good girl and maybe a "'54 convertible too, light blue," would be a nice present for her.

A few Soldiers were invited onstage to take part in the performance. Two cheerleaders roamed through the crowd to select Soldiers to join in the fun. Two Soldiers were selected and asked to take part in a push-up contest. Cheerleader Trisha Marie Trevino, a five-year veteran of the squad on her third visit to Korea, explained they too must do push-ups as part of their training and they wanted to see how many push-ups 2nd ID Soldiers could do. Informed they had 30 seconds to knock out as many as push-ups as they could, both Soldiers showed off their fitness level.

The crowd attempted to keep count but the Soldiers repetitions were quick, with the winner knocking out 48 and the other Soldier right on his heels with 46. Both Warriors were rewarded with prizes and smiles from the cheerleaders.

The next interactive routine called for two Soldiers to stand completely motionless on stage while two friendly cheerleaders danced around them, bumped into them, and teased them in a flirtatious manner. The two Soldiers displayed the discipline Warriors in the 2nd ID are known for and did not even twitch a muscle throughout the routine despite intense provocation. After the performance the Soldiers happily accepted a 2010 cheerleader calendar and then were escorted off the stage by their now-favorite cheerleaders.

A rousing patriotic number marked the final routine of the evening. After an equally rousing final flurry of applause, Lt. Col. Richard Fromm, the USAG-Casey commander, leaped onto the stage and thanked the team on behalf of all the Soldiers. Fromm presented the cheerleaders with a framed certificate of appreciation.

The 11 cheerleaders, part of a 35-member squad that performs during Cowboys' home games, each volunteered to spend Christmas in Korea. "There is nothing I would rather be doing today than spending Christmas with the Soldiers," said Whitney Isleib, a cheerleader from Friendwood, Texas.

Isleib, in her second year with the team, said this was her first opportunity to visit the troops in Korea. "The Soldiers make us smile," she said. "It's an honor to interact with them."
Appreciative Warriors were also smiling by the end of the performance.

"I am impressed they are spending their Christmas to entertain us. Their willingness to sacrifice their time to visit those of us who cannot be home for Christmas means an awful lot," said Pfc. Justin Garner a chemical specialist with 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team and a native of Bryan, Texas."