By Pfc. Monica K. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service
CAMP STRIKER, Iraq - Entertaining troops for the sixth consecutive year, the 2007 Hope and Freedom USO Tour stopped off yesterday to entertain Multi-National Division Center soldiers.
The crowd was engaging, with a few of its own comics, and kept entertainers such as singer Darryl Worley and comedian Sheryl Underwood laughing just as hard.
The show began with opening remarks from Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, who introduced everyone on tour, including all of the band members and the stage crew.
"During the holidays, the USO tour is a piece of home to all the soldiers," Preston said. "It's also an opportunity to say thanks for the sacrifices they make."
Kicking the show off was the U.S. Army Band "Downrange" singing "I Live in America." Other featured acts were singer Keni Thomas, a former Army Ranger; four members of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders; Leeann Tweeden, a sports correspondent for Fox; and actor-comedian Vince Morris, who was greeted as a newbie by the crowd because this was his inaugural performance.
Tweeden said this is her eighth USO tour and that she just wants to be able to go back and tell everyone firsthand what she's seen and experienced.
On his sixth rotation with the USO Hope and Freedom tour, Worley said he's only making a small sacrifice. The group spends 14 days performing, visiting troops, signing autographs and taking photos. But Worley said he does it because he has friends who are willing to stop the enemy in its tracks for messing with him and the rest of America.