By Sgt. Uriah WalkerDecember 17, 2012
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Dec. 17, 2012) -- Members of the 2012 annual USO holiday tour, Craig Stammen, Kellie Pickler, Ross Detwiler, Matt Hendricks and Iliza Shlesinger, stopped at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to entertain and raise morale of deployed service members, Dec. 16.
This year's tour members were greeted, as they stepped off of an Air Force C-130 Hercules, by Maj. Gen. Rober "Abe" Abrams, Regional Command (South) and Third Infantry Division commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson, RC(S) and 3rd Infantry Division command sergeant major.
Through the efforts of several of the staff at the Kandahar Airfield, or KAF, USO, service members were afforded the opportunity to meet the entire group as well as take photos with and receive autographs from the celebrities before the evening's show at the boardwalk.
While waiting in line for photos and autographs, service members were greeted by Lisa Battaglia, wife of Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Deanie Dempsey, wife of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, who offered cupcakes and conversation.
Mrs. Battaglia and Mrs. Dempsey also met with Female Engagement Team, or FET, Soldiers for lunch, listened to experiences from the field and talked about the importance of the future of FETs.
After a day of traveling, meeting with service members and a sit-down dinner at the Independence dining facility, it was time for the entertainment to begin.
Abrams was the first to take the stage to welcome the multinational group who came out for the show and thank them for the sacrifices they make for their countries every day. He then introduced Dempsey, who echoed his appreciation and wished everyone happy holidays.
Washington Capitals forward Hendricks, and Washington Nationals team members Detwiler and Stammen, also voiced their appreciation before Shlesinger, NBC's Last Comic Standing season six winner, came to the stage with animated jokes that left the crowd laughing.
Last up was country music artist Kellie Pickler who entertained the audience with short stories about growing up, some of the influences for her music and several of her hits including 'Tough' and 'Red High Heels.'
To close the evening's events, Dempsey returned to the stage, and with the help of Pickler and the band, led everyone in singing 'White Christmas.'