Thursday, 24 May 2007
By Sgt. Sky M. Laron
Combined Press Information Center
BAGHDAD — Country music star, Toby Keith, visited troops stationed in Baghdad Tuesday.
Singing songs and playing guitar are a few things Keith, an Oklahoma native, does quite well. Visiting troops in combat is another activity he takes pride in.
Keith’s visit to Baghdad is part of his fifth United Service Organizations (USO) tour.
If you are going to talk the talk, then you’ve got to walk the walk and that is why he is back in Iraq and performing for the Soldiers, he said.
USO celebrity entertainment tours bring volunteer celebrities to entertain, lift morale and express the gratitude and support of the American people, according to the USO website. (www.uso.org)
A strong supporter of the military, Keith has always respected the sacrifice and dedication to duty that Soldiers display when they are far from home and their families.
Keith says that it is easy for him to come over to Iraq for a few weeks every year because he does not have to stay the entire year. The Soldiers are the ones making a huge sacrifice with their long deployments.
Keith has seen some of the same Soldiers several times, sometimes two or three years in a row, he said.
“It’s a huge sacrifice for the families too,” he said.
The high opinion he has for the troops started early in life and serves him well today.
“My father was a Soldier, and I was raised in a family where if your dad was a Soldier, you’ve got to respect your veterans,” he said.
Having sold more than 30 million records, success is something that Keith knows a little something about, but performing for the military and shaking hands with Soldiers is what motivates him.
Keith will continue his USO tour throughout the Persian Gulf and later into Germany.
“It doesn’t matter where in the world our Soldiers are, I’ll be there,” said Keith.