The holidays are about spending time with family, friends, and your loved ones. For those in the military those special times are sometimes spent thousands of miles away from those that are closest to you.
While it’s not the same as a care package from home, many celebs and sports figures have taken the time to support the troops abroad. It’s a chance for these celebs to give back and to say thank you for all the hard work these troops put in to protect us. Here’s a few that have given their time.
1. Bob Hope
Comedian Bob Hope traveled the globe to entertain our service men and women for over six decades. It began in May 1941 with a radio show to the troops. He would go on to perform and entertain thousands of troops during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Lebanon Civil War, Iran-Iraq war, and the Persian Gulf War. All in all, Bob Hope headlined 57 tours.
In 1997, Bob received one of his greatest tributes when Resolution 75 was unanimously passed by members of both houses making him an Honorary Veteran.
2. Peyton Manning
Former NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning was among a group of athletes and celebrities who visited troops at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan in 2013. He threw passes and signed autographs for the troops.
3. Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise is a huge supporter of the troops. He frequently performs on USO tours at military bases around the world. Sinise is also on the Advisory Council of Hope For The Warriors, is the National Spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and has participated in Troopathon. He co-narrated the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted. We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more. – Gary Sinise
Sinise has been honored for all his work with veterans and was made an honorary U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer in 2011. In 2013, he was named an honorary Marine by the Marine Corps.
He continues to fight for our military and our veterans.
4. Drew Carey
Comedian and game show host Drew Carey served 6 years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He visited Afghanistan and provided a little comic relief and signed autographs for the troops.
5. Don Shula
Don Shula, former Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins, visited the troops back in 2009. He offered encouragement and help to boost morale during a summer USO tour.
6. Karl Malone
Basketball Hall of Famer Karl Malone visited the troops at Bagram Airfield in 2011.
The “Mailman” had this to say about his visit.
“Everyone doesn’t get an opportunity to visit our troops abroad. The only other time I felt like I was serving my country was the Olympics. For me to visit the troops and say thank you, I feel they will really appreciate the visit. … I feel like visiting the troops is part of my duty. I am excited to go. Never in my life have I done anything like this.”
7. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger has visited the troops multiple times during the last few years. In 2009, the then governor gave a short speech designed to motivate the troops. He delivered cigars, signed autographs, and told them he’d return to work out with them before breakfast.
8. Chuck Norris
Actor, martial artist, and US Air Force Veteran, Chuck Norris has visited the troops numerous times. He has even created a documentary about his visit. With a camera crew, Norris visited the troops in Iraq to personally thank and meet as many service men and women as possible. Norris wanted to visit isolated areas that were not regularly visited. This documentary follows him through his tour and highlights his meetings with America’s finest.
Due to his significant contributions, and continued patriotism, he received the Veteran of the Year award in 2001 at the American Veteran Awards.
9. George W. Bush
President Bush really knows how to rally the troops. He’s sincere and much more warmly regarded than the current Commander-in-Chief.
This picture is from his Thanksgiving day visit back in 2003. It was a surprise Thanksgiving visit where Bush addressed approximately 600 U.S. troops at Baghdad International Airport and he thanked the soldiers for their service and praised their work on the battlefield. The president received several standing ovations from the assembly. Following his speech, President Bush walked through the crowd, posing for photographs and talking with soldiers.