this might help with some of it.
Thanks for your write-up on the vacation industry. I would also like to include that if your senior thinking about traveling, it can be absolutely vital that you buy travel insurance for elderly people. When traveling, older persons are at high risk of getting a medical emergency. Getting the right insurance coverage package for the age group can protect your health and provide you with peace of mind.
Here is an article i had pulled off of the USO site some time back - I thought it was interesting. Some may already have seen it in the past.
Country Music and the USO
The USO's partnership with the country music industry is as old as the USO. The Grand
Ole Opry and Gene Autry's radio show, "Melody Ranch," were popular programs during
the 1940s. Country music stars from both programs traveled on several USO tours,
entertaining military personnel stationed around the world. Thanks to exposure on
USO tours, country music was introduced to many service members from Northern regions
of the United States who had considered the genre "hillbilly" music.
In the early 1940s, Autry served his country flying C-47 cargo planes in the China-Burma-India
Theater. When the war ended, "the singing cowboy" toured in the Pacific with a USO
troupe, thus beginning the long-standing tradition of country artists traveling on
USO tours overseas to boost troop morale.
In 1949, in partnership with the Grand Ole Opry, Red Foley, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl,
Rod Brasfield, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Williams and others toured U.S. military
bases in England, Germany and the Azores. In the 1950s, Carolina Cotton, the Yodeling
Blonde Bombshell, entertained military personnel in Europe, North Africa, Korea and
The USO sent Patsy Cline and Jerry Reed to Hawaii in 1960 to perform and shake hands
with military personnel. Red Foley and Roy Acuff accompanied Bob Hope on USO overseas
tours in 1961. Acuff toured again in 1962, traveling to the Eastern Mediterranean
region for eight weeks, while modern country singer Johnny Cash went to the Pacific
for three weeks. Acuff and his Grand Ole Opry tour continued to perform for service
members throughout the 1960s.
During the Vietnam War, Roy Acuff and the Grand Ole Opry stars visited Vietnam and
Thailand from 1967 to 1970. Acuff and his wife, Mildred Douglas, also toured military
hospitals in Japan, the Philippines, Guam, Okinawa and Hawaii, stopping at bedsides,
signing autographs and shaking hands. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans also toured in Vietnam.
After the Vietnam War, the number of USO tours declined. Country music artists began
touring with the USO again in the 1980s. Legendary country singer Loretta Lynn embarked
on her first USO tour in 1983 and, in 1986, traveled to the Pacific to boost troop
morale. In 1985, Mickey Gilley and Kris Kristofferson toured with the USO to the
Pacific. The following year, military personnel stationed in the Mediterranean and
Caribbean were treated to performances by Barbara Fairchild, Razzy Bailey and Lee
Holiday tours are a long-standing USO tradition, providing entertainment to troops
when it is the most difficult time to be away from family and friends. The Judds
premiered in Cuba in 1987, skipping a week-long Thanksgiving vacation to bring holiday
cheer to service members stationed at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Randy Travis
entertained an estimated 30,000 service members stationed in Germany and Italy during
the two-week 1987 USO Christmas tour. Thanksgiving 1988, Randy Travis and Patty Loveless
performed 12 shows in Alaska, Japan, and Korea. Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty spent
Christmas 1988 with the troops stationed in Germany, Greece and Spain, and visited
service members aboard ships in the Mediterranean. Also in 1988, Charlie Daniels
and country starlet Nicolette Larson performed for service members and their families
stationed in the Caribbean.
Country music superstars Ricky Skaggs and Suzy Bogguss spent 15-days in the Pacific
with military personnel in January 1989. In March, troops stationed in Alaska and
Japan were entertained by Steve Warner and Holly Dunn. Randy Travis's third USO tour
took him to southern Europe in November 1989, while Charley Pride traveled to a number
of bases in December. Completing his fifth USO tour in three years, Lee Greenwood
entertained troops in Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, Scotland and England. That
same year, he traveled to Panama where he performed nine shows in two days.
Country music artists, such as Charlie Daniels, the Forester Sisters, Larry Gatlin,
Ricky Skaggs and Randy Travis traveled with the USO extensively to boost troop morale
in the 1990s. Tour headliner Travis performed for troops on his annual USO Thanksgiving
tour in 1990. The following year, KT Oslin made her USO debut in November, entertaining
troops in Honduras, Panama, Cuba, Antigua and Bermuda. Continuing to spread holiday
cheer, Skaggs, the founder of the "new traditional" country music, and The Whites,
"the first family of country music," traveled to Asia and the Middle East. Domestically,
Lee Greenwood bought smiles to service members at Fort Benning, Ga.
In 1991, the Forester Sisters entertained service members in Iceland stationed far
from home for the holidays. USO tour veterans Ricky Skaggs, Holly Dunn, Charlie Daniels
and Lee Greenwood traveled with the USO in 1992. Daniels also toured with the USO
in 1993, 1994 and 1995. In 1993, the USO sent out the first entertainers to a military
base in Somalia, Clint Black and Lisa Hartman. Larry Gatlin ventured into Somalia
that same year before traveling to Haiti and Korea. "USO Country Christmas," a tour
which became popular in 1993 and 1994, sent Rick Orozco and the Forester Sisters
to boost troop morale; and, in 1995, the Nashville Bluegrass Band joined the roster.
Best known for blending traditional honky-tonk with rock energy, Mark Collie's first
USO tour sent him to Bosnia, Hungry and France in 1996. Delivering a touch of home
to troops, Mary Chapin Carpenter traveled to Scotland, just as Oklahoma native Becky
Hobbs embarked on her first USO tour to Italy in 1996.
The following year, Carpenter brought holiday cheer to troops serving in "Operation
Joint Guard." Also in 1997, Rick Orozco performed for military personnel in the Balkans
and Hungary. In 1998, the Country Music Association was presented with the Spirit
of Hope Award, given to individuals, organizations and corporations that demonstrate
a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for service members and their families
around the world.
In 1999, Reba McEntire was one of the many USO entertainers who performed for service
members in Naples. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shane Minor joined the annual "Delivering
America" tour to spend the holidays with troops thousands of miles from home in Italy,
Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo. Country singer Claudia Church accompanied Paul Brandt
on tour in July 1999, traveling to Germany, Oman, Hungary, Macedonia, Bosnia, Iceland
and the United Kingdom.
In 2000, Ricochet and Lisa Angelle participated in "Operation Season's Greetings,"
a tour created to boost troop morale after tragedy struck the USS Cole in October,
killing 17 sailors and injuring 39. In 2001, The Bellamy Brothers, Danni Leigh and
Becky Hobbs were just a few of the performers who brought a "touch of home" to troops
overseas in celebration of Independence Day. The "USO Holiday Tour 2001" sent Neal
McCoy on tour, entertaining more than 10,000 service members in Italy and Bosnia.
In 2002, Tracy Byrd performed for troops at Fort Hood, Texas, while Charlie Daniels
traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Over the 2002 Memorial Day holiday, country music
star Toby Keith brought his stage show to troops stationed in the Balkans. Jamie
O'Neal and Restless Heart participated in "Operation Season's Greetings," providing
entertainment to troops stationed in Europe and the Mediterranean. Former Army paratrooper
and country music newcomer Craig Morgan performed for the troops in Afghanistan in
2002, and Neal McCoy, Darryl Worley, Aaron Tippin, Trace Adkins, Steve Azar, Anthony
Smith and James Otto toured both stateside and overseas in 2002.
In June 2003, "Project Salute," the first large-scale entertainment tour to Iraq
and other locations in the Persian Gulf region since Operation Iraqi Freedom, brought
a host of entertainers and professional athletes to pay tribute to the men and women
of U.S. and coalition forces. Neal McCoy, Chely Wright and Lee Ann Womack were part
of the star-studded brigade. In September, Lee Greenwood sang his hit "God Bless
the USA" to troops stationed in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and other locations
in Southwest Asia. In November, McCoy toured Kuwait, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.
Darryl Worley and Mark Wills joined the "Hope and Freedom Tour 2003," which made
stops in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar.
Domestically, in 2003, Diamond Rio headlined an October "Welcome Home" celebration
for service members based out of Savannah, Ga., while country newcomer Rachel Proctor
performed in December for service members and their families at Fort Hood, Texas.
Deana Carter's first USO tour took her to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in 2003.
Country music legend, Merle Haggard entertained military personnel and their families
in Hampton Roads, Va., during a Memorial Day concert.
2004 was also a busy year for country artists, with many traveling to Germany. In
October, Sawyer Brown performed at the First Armored Division "Welcome Home" celebration
before visiting service members recuperating at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
Brad Cotter, winner of the USA Network's "Nashville Star 2," also traveled to Germany
in 2004, spending Thanksgiving with troops. In May, Toby Keith embarked on a whirlwind
USO tour to Italy, Germany, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq.
Wynonna Judd performed at the Pentagon in recognition of Memorial Day and National
Military Appreciation Month. Neal McCoy performed at the Annual USO World Headquarters'
Gala before performing on two USO tours in 2004. Traveling to the Pacific, Mark Wills
and Darryl Worley accompanied the Sergeant Major of the Army's "Hope and Freedom
Tour 2004" to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Displaying his continued support for the troops, USO tour veteran Toby Keith traveled
to Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan, Belgium and Germany in May 2005. Also traveling to Iraq,
country music trio Rascal Flatts provided a morale boost to service members. Neal
McCoy, another USO tour veteran and strong supporter of troops, entertained guests
at the Annual USO World Headquarters' Gala in September. Country singer Ty England
visited service members stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., during the Second Marine
Expeditionary Force Homecoming Celebration in October. Mark Wills, Craig Morgan and
Keni Thomas traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait in December to spread holiday
Neal McCoy was part of a tour to the Gulf Coast region to boost the morale of troops
involved in the rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Country
music group Lonestar also performed for service members assisting with the clean-up
efforts at Kessler Air force Base in Biloxi, Miss.
The USO tour tradition, begun 65 years ago, continues today with country music artists
headlining some of the USO's major tours. The relationship between country music
and the USO will continue will continue as well, with several country music acts
already lined up for 2006. The USO is grateful to all country artists who have contributed
their time and talents to support service men and women stationed around the world,
ensuring them that they are not forgotten.
Note: This fact sheet was compiled, based on available USO historical records. It,
therefore, may not include all country music performers who toured with the USO through
the USO's 65 years of service.
Always and Forever...An RT Fan
Linda and Guide Greg