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 News Article

Manning Scores ‘Touchdown’ With U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

By Army Staff Sgt. David J. Overson
115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGRAM, Afghanistan, March 1, 2013 – There are arguably tens of millions of football fans around the globe, and it is safe to assume that many are fans of Super Bowl champion and current Denver Broncos’ quarterback, Peyton Manning.

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Denver Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning, addresses service members at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, during a USO tour, March 1, 2013. Manning was accompanied by retired Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling, NFL players Austin Collie and Vincent Jackson, and other athletes and entertainers. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. David J. Overson

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So when Manning arrived here today with a United Service Organizations-hosted tour, service members gathered at Bagram Air Field roared their approval.

Manning thrilled onlookers by throwing a few passes into the audience. Austin Collie, a wide receiver with the Indianapolis Colts and Vincent Jackson, a wide receiver with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, assisted Manning on stage.

“It’s truly inspiring to see all of the pride and hard work these men and women display every day here, and it makes me grateful to be an American,” Manning said.

  1. In tow with Manning, as part of the tour, were a few sports celebrities to help entertain the troops. Retired Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling delighted the crowd with inspiring words, along with the National Football League’s Austin Collie and Vincent Jackson.

“A lot of my family members served in the military, and this is an incredible honor for me to come here today and say ‘thank you’ to all the men and women putting their lives on the line for all of us back home,” Schilling said.

The host of the USO show, which was held in a modified tent, was Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., who introduced two members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Cassie Trammel and Jackie Bob, to the audience. Both Trammell and Bob bantered with the audience and performed a dance routine.

The musical portion of the tour featured Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo of “American Idol” fame. The couple, who are engaged to one another, met on “Idol’s” 11th season, and have been touring with the USO for the past two years.

“To be able to come here and perform for the troops is first and foremost an honor, DeGarmo said. It’s nice to be able to bring a small piece of home here, and hopefully help put their troubles behind for just a moment.”

“Getting to meet and talk to the soldiers about their daily duties is quite the blessing for me. I really love what they all do for us back home,” Manning said.

The entertainment concluded with service members obtaining autographs from their favorite sports celebrities. Whether it was Peyton Manning, or the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, it was obvious the crowd was walking a bit lighter when the tour rolled out. 

Contact Author

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr.

Related Sites:
United Service Organizations
Photo Essay: Winnefeld Launches Spring USO Tour

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Click photo for screen-resolution image“American Idol” stars Diana Degarmo and Ace Young sing to the troops while Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Cassie Trammell dances at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, during a USO tour, March 1, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. David J. Overson  
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