MORÓN AIR BASE, Spain — U.S. Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled along with a variety of entertainers on the annual United Service Organizations holiday tour to Morón Air Base, Spain.
“Christmastime is a tough time for our men and women who are deployed and what’s important is we let them know that what they are doing out there every day really matters, that it is appreciated and the folks back home are paying attention to them,” Dunford said.
The USO, which has been operating 76 years, brings varied entertainment to service members overseas to give them a taste of home.
Approximately 150 Airmen operating at Morón alongside Marines with the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
The 2017 holiday tour featured professional wrestlers Michael “The Miz” Mizanin and Alicia Fox; actor-comedians Adam DeVine and Iliza Shlesinger; country singer Jerrod Niemann and his band; and celebrity chef and talk show host Robert Irvine and his wife, Gail Kim-Irvine, a professional wrestler, model and actress. Accompanying Dunford was retired Army Capt. Florent Groberg, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in Afghanistan in 2012.
“These are people who volunteered to come over the holidays and spend time with our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, and I think they do have a sense of who our young men and women are, and they are looking forward to spending time with them,” Dunford said.
Dunford and each of the entertainers participated in a variety of events that allowed them to interact with Airmen and Marines, and see firsthand the work they accomplish. The tour culminated with a show as the entertainers performed for the base.
It was not only the military members who enjoyed the tour, according to Col. Patrick Ryder, special assistant for public affairs to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Today we took the USO performers over to meet with some [Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force] Marines and Air Force Security Forces members,” Ryder said. “They got to see some demonstrations. Each of the entertainers was really impressed with the professionalism and what our servicemembers do, whether it was small squad tactics or self-defense, they all learned something new and gained a greater appreciation for the kinds of work that our military members do. Importantly, they all had fun.”