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Published:December 25th, 2018 19:14 EST

Chairman Dunford 2018 USO Holiday Tour Kicks Off

By SOP newswire3

The Chairman`s annual USO Holiday Tour kicked off here today with a performance for Marines and Sailors with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment deployed to Værnes Air Station.

dunford Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., President Dr. J.D. Crouch II and their spouses are leading the tour, which includes stops in the U.S. European and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility over the next seven days.

The expanded Marine Corps rotational presence in Norway, announced by the Government of Norway in August, facilitates military exercises in the Nordic region that support NATO and U.S. European Command campaign plans; increases interoperability with Allies and partners; and improves the Marine Corps` cold weather and mountain warfare proficiencies. The U.S. has a long and close relationship with NATO ally Norway on defense and security cooperation.

The USO holiday tour started in 2003 by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers to express thanks and appreciation to deployed service members away from home for the holidays.

This is Dunford`s fifth USO tour since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

"While we can`t bring our troops home for the holidays, we can bring a bit of home to them - that`s what the USO holiday tour is all about," Dunford said.

This year`s holiday tour includes Olympian Shaun White; NCIS star Wilmer Valderrama; singer and television host Kellie Pickler; comedian Jessimae Peluso; This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia; Three-Time CrossFit Champion Mat Fraser; and DJ J. Dayz.

All USO performers volunteered to travel over the holidays to participate in variety-style shows and troop engagements to show service members that America remembers them and values their service.

The USO strengthens America`s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. For over 77 years, the USO, a private, non-profit organization, has served the men and women of the U.S. military and their families throughout their service-from the moment they join, through their deployments and as they transition back to their communities. To learn more, visit:

Photo Credit: Wikipedia