Country music has always been the most patriotic of all music genres.  As far back as anyone can remember, country artists have been showing their support for the troops by playing shows, bringing armed forces on stage and making generous donations.  Among the appreciative organizations that team up with country stars is the USO.

Just this past April marked Toby Keith‘s 10th year going overseas to perform for the troops, surpassing 200 shows since the beginning of his journey and now Carolina cutie Kellie Pickler is rising in the ranks.  On Wednesday December 19, Pickler returned home from her sixth tour overseas stopping at Bagram Air Base and Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart in Germany and visits with Sailors aboard the USS John C. Stennis.  Her seven-day journey was meant to bring a bit of holiday spirit and homeliness to those stationed overseas.

Just before her stop at the Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, Pickler took a moment to express her happiness and excitement to be part of the USO Holiday Tour.  “[During] the holidays, everyone wants to be home with their families and loved ones,” she said to the crowd.  “I just want to say thanks so much for all that you do, and thank you to your families as they make a huge sacrifice. This time of year is really hard so I hope that you know that we love you. The USO, all of us, we are praying for a safe return home for you all. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Just this past May, Pickler partook in another USO Tour visiting Kuwait.  Other country artists who have performed overseas for the USO include Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins and Montgomery Gentry.

-Jodi Phillips / The New 103.7

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