Country star Darryl Worley recently made one of his most inspirational and life-changing trips overseas to entertain the U.S. troops throughout Afghanistan and Kuwait. Since 2002, Worley has visited many of the forward operating bases (FOBs), but for his 10th tour, he wanted to visit the tiny and elite Special Ops sites where our military serving on the front lines rarely receive celebrity visits. The tour was sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Stars for Stripes (SFS).
"I've had the opportunity to travel to some of the small FOBs on previous tours and saw the impact our visits made on the men and women in those sites," says Worley. "It has been a dream of mine for several years to do an entire tour focused on the remote sites where our Special Ops Forces are located. Those guys are our unsung heroes, facing the most dangerous situations and not asking for any recognition for their service. To be able to personally visit and thank that segment of our nation's heroes was truly a special blessing."
Accompanying Worley on the tour was his long-time friend and guitarist, Jeff "Soir" Jared, and Stars for Stripes President, Judy Seale. Seale, who founded SFS in 2003, helped make it possible for Worley to make the up-close and personal visits and says it's a tour she won't soon forget.
"When I founded Stars for Stripes, my goal was to reach the most remote sites where our men and women serving rarely receive celebrity visits," notes Seale. "I've accomplished that goal throughout the years, but never to the extent that we managed on this tour. It was life-altering for all of us, and we were so fortunate to have the opportunity to say thank you in person to those who rarely receive those accolades. I will forever be grateful to Darryl for his support and having the foresight to recognize the need for tours like this."
The tour began on the Western Part of Afghanistan with a visit to the Marine Special Operations Forces where Worley entertained a handful of Marines at the site. They continued on to their second stop with the Navy Seals at a Village Stability Platform (VSP), where our military "lives" in an Afghan Village with the locals. Bad weather moved into the area and extended their stay. After Worley performed, they ate lunch and dinner together and Worley was able to just hang out and get to know each of them on a more personal level. Their final day in Afghanistan took them to the Army Special Operations Forces where the "audience" consisted of an equal number of Army Special Ops and Afghan Special Ops. After the performance, they were treated to an Afghan meal -- goat, gravy, and "nan-e" - traditional Afghan bread.
Worley's closing performance of the tour took place in Kuwait at Ali Al Salem Air Base, referred to as "The Rock." Following his 90-minute performance to a packed theatre of more than 500 servicemen and women, Worley signed autographs and took photos with everyone before departing home to the states.
"These tours always touch my heart and feed my soul," says Worley. "I feel so incredibly inspired, honored and humbled at the same time."