When Toby Keith goes overseas to the Middle East to play for troops the USO can’t release the actual dates for security reasons. However, Keith is setting out soon to again play for the U.S. troops, but his areas of playing shows has changed a bit since the trip he made last year. Toby Keith says, “We do a week on Afghanistan and then I think we do a week in Kuwait, Bahrain and we’ve been hitting… We started hitting aircraft carriers and doing a big show for five thousand a night on the aircraft carrier and then flying by helicopters out to battle ships and then doing two-man shows during the day. We should surpass 200 shows, 10 years our 10th anniversary and we’ve got it all documented and at some point I’m gonna put something together and show everybody what a wonderful 10 years it’s been a trip and show you some wonderful warriors and heroes.”
Toby Keith talks about his 10th year of playing for Troops overseas.
SSgt. Jason Tucker from Lincoln Park has been in the Marines for 12 years. Back in 2008 the Marines were out on patrol in Afghanistan and when they came back they had a surprise. I talked with SSgt. Tucker and he said, “We didn’t even know he was coming especially to our position. Normally when people like him come they just go to some big army base where it’s safe and play for like 20,000 thousand soldiers. So when we got back off of our combat mission there was a make shift stage thrown together and everyone (the 8-10 marines that didn’t go on patrol) was saying Toby Keith “may” stop by. Most of the guys who had been around for a while were like sure we have heard this one before, why would some singer come all the way out here where real combat shit is happening on a day-to-day basis and play for like 50 Marines the is no way that Toby is coming. To all of our surprise about an hour later a CH56 escorted by 2 cobra gunships landed and off walked Toby Keith. Everyone gathered around the stage to great him, he met for a brief second with the “important” people (Col, SgtMaj ect.) but then came right out and started talking to the 50 or so marines that where there.”
SSgt. Tucker said Keith played about 6 songs for the troops and then took some requests. Afterwards, he took a photo with every single soldier that wanted one and signed autographs for them as well. “He signed a couple of my Marine guitars, and even played a song with them before he had to leave. The rest of the deployment was spent talking about how bad ass that was of him not only coming and performing for troops deployed, but for taking the time to come to our small Patrol Base when he could have gone to a much larger and safer place, but he chose to play for us.”
SSgt. Tucker concluded, “It’s hard to explain what something like that does to moral for Marines, but for that brief time it takes your mind off of all the bad stuff that is going on there and allows you to be “normal” again even if it’s just for the day.” Semper Fi!
Toby Keith arrives aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Keith’s visit with the crew included a thorough tour of the ship to observe life and operations at sea before performing for the crew as part of a USO tour. (U.S. Navy video/Released)