Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kicks Off USO World Tour With Surprise Visit to USO Alaska, Then Journeys to the Pacific

Nearly 100 service members at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson were treated to breakfast with Vice Chairman General Paul J. Selva and his special guests Craig Morgan, Betty Cantrell, Charles Tillman, Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis


ARLINGTON, Va., March 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On a mission of connection and in celebration of their 75th anniversary, the USO—with help from the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—cooked up more than just breakfast for soldiers and airmen stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) on March 15. Kicking off his first USO tour, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul J. Selva surprised nearly 100 unsuspecting service members attending a free pancake breakfast at USO Alaska – a brand new facility on base offering the traditional amenities of a home-away-from-home USO center. The group then traveled to the Pacific to deliver more smiles, laughs and good times. Accompanying Selva as his special guests were country music star and Army veteran Craig Morgan, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, Carolina Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman and UFC stars Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. ***USO photo link below with images added daily***


  • Following the well-orchestrated surprise visit, the group performed a variety-style USO show, had lunch with service members and were treated to unit demonstrations. The group then traveled some ten hours to Okinawa, where they met with Marines and airmen stationed at Camp Hansen and Kadena Air Base.
  • The visits to Alaska and Japan are just two of many memorable stops to come as Selva leads the group on an eight-day, seven-country USO tour. Just four days into the trip, the group has visited and entertained more than 1,500 service members and their families.
  • Selva's tour continues a long-standing tradition of the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff partnering with the USO and leading a group of famous faces on goodwill tours to visit, entertain and bring a touch of home to service members and their families stationed around the world.
  • This trip marks the seventh USO tour for Morgan, second for Tillman and first for the remainder of the group.
  • February 4, 2016, marked the USO's 75th anniversary and the official kick off of a yearlong, worldwide celebration. At 75, its mission remains as vital today as it was in 1941 and very similar – to strengthen America's service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service.
  • The USO Alaska center features cozy couches, gaming equipment, cable TV, computers, free Wi-Fi and much, much more. The center also features the USO's first-ever USO Wellness Center, which is part of an effort to create programming that focuses on physical and emotional resiliency.
  • As mirrored by Selva's tour abroad, the USO is on a mission of connection and is committed to strengthening America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country. To learn more, and help the USO deliver more than 1 million messages of support around the world, visit
  • Referred to as one of the UFC's busiest fighters, CERRONE has averaged at least four fights a year since 2013. A former professional kickboxer turned MMA fighter, the 6-foot-1-inch Colorado native turned pro in 2006. Ranked No.5 in the official UFC Lightweight rankings, Cerrone's record includes 29 wins and only 7 losses.
  • Known for his quick feet and powerful punches inside the octagon, PETTIS, nicknamed "Showtime," held the UFC Lightweight Champion title from August 2013 until March 2015. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter began boxing as a young child and made his professional MMA debut in 2007. In addition to holding a number of championship titles, countless wins and infinite award distinctions, Pettis holds a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
  • MORGAN first volunteered with the USO in 2005 and is a USO Merit Award recipient who has gone on to participate in six USO tours, where he has entertained more than 33,700 service members and their families in six countries. Among the countries Morgan has visited with the USO are the U.S., Guam, Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. Prior to making it big on the country music scene, the singer/songwriter spent more than 10.5 years of service in the U.S. Army and an additional 6.5 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. This marks his seventh tour abroad with the USO.
  • Crowned Miss America 2016 on September 13th, CANTRELL is the first Miss Georgia to receive the coveted crown since 1953. A newbie to the pageant world (her first competition was in late 2013), her father is an U.S. Army Ranger.
  • Known for his cover skills and uncanny ability to force fumbles on the gridiron, Carolina Panthers cornerback TILLMAN was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Far from a stranger to military life, the two-time pro bowler/2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year is also the son of an Army sergeant. Having frequently moved from base-to-base throughout the U.S. and Germany, Tillman attended 11 different schools. A life-long supporter of America's Armed Forces, he traveled to Kuwait and Iraq in 2010 and even volunteered with the USO of Illinois.

Attributed to General Paul J. Selva:
"It is an absolute honor to lead this tour around the world and join my special celebrity guests in celebrating the USO's 75-year history of standing by our side and taking care of us and our families. The USO brings the spirit of home to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving worldwide, touching 75,000 lives every single day. It takes a special kind of person and a special kind of organization to do what the USO does 365 days a year."

Attributed to Donald Cerrone:
"Out troops are among the hardest working, toughest men and women around. We're honored to be here."

Attributed to Anthony Pettis:
"Going out with the General and the USO just before my upcoming fight is pretty special. It gives me a greater sense of those who are out there all around the world fighting for us back home. I'm living out my dream today because of them; so this trip and this experience has been pretty amazing."

Attributed to Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell:
"At the end of the day – I am just a girl, whose father was an Army Ranger and who has always had a profound respect for our men and women in uniform, and their families. I didn't grow up doing pageants and I never thought I'd be out with the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visiting out troops as Miss America as I am today. I am honored to be here and to now be a part of the USO's rich 75-year history."

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About the USO
The USO strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.
In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President's Circle Partners: AT &T, the BNSF Railway Foundation, Clark Construction Group, LLC, The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, Kroger, NFL and Four-Star Partners: BIC, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, GEICO, JCPenney, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, TKS and the Wawa Foundation. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit


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