General Frank J. Grass Wraps Up First Leg of First-Ever National Guard USO Tour to Kosovo and Kuwait

Service members stationed abroad came together to celebrate the USO's 75th anniversary with General Grass and special guests Robert Patrick, Jerrod Niemann, Sam Perkins, Matthew Lillard and Tim Kennedy


ARLINGTON, Va., May 19, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Frank J. Grass is mid-way through his six-day, four-country USO tour. So far, he and his special guests Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard, Jerrod Niemann Sam Perkins and Tim Kennedy, have visited with and performed for soldiers and 
Airmen stationed in Kosovo and Kuwait. ***USO photo link below***


• Coming up, the group will travel to two more countries to spread more USO goodness. 

• In total, the National Guard USO tour will visit five bases in Europe and the Middle East in just six days. In addition to a variety-style USO show, Grass and his guests will also participate in unit visits. 

• This 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. 

• Trip marks the sixth USO tour for Patrick, fourth for Lillard 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. The National Guard USO tour is part of that celebration and joins the USO in helping to strengthen America's service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country. To join in this celebration, visit and help the USO deliver more than 1 million messages of support to service members around the world.

• PATRICK's breakout role came as the legendary 'T-1000' in Terminator 2. Since then, he has starred in countless films and shows from Die Hard 2 and The Sopranos to recent blockbusters like Identity Thief and Gangster Squad. Currently starring on CBS' Scorpion, his grandfather was an Army veteran who served during World Wars I and II and the Korean War. Having grown up respecting those in uniform, Patrick has traveled to seven countries with the USO and visited more than 9,500 service members and their families since 2008.

• NIEMANN began writing and performing at the age of 10, went on to sign his first record deal in 2001, and is now one of country music's most original and talented innovators. The star is best known for platinum-selling hits such as "Lover, Lover" and the multi-week No. 1 smash, "Drink to That All Night," among others. His latest hit, "A Little More Love," a duet with Curb label mate Lee Brice, was released May 16 and is the lead single off Niemann's forthcoming record. 

• Nicknamed "Big Smooth" PERKINS played in the NBA for 17 years and even won a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angles Olympic Games. A former forward/center for the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle SuperSonics and Indiana Pacers, he stands at a whopping 6 feet 9 inches tall and ranks 22nd all time in games played (1,286). Now an ambassador for both the NBA and the Special Olympics, Perkins spends much of his time traveling and on the road. 

• Best known as 'Stu' in Wes Craven's "Scream" and 'Shaggy Rogers' in the animated "Scooby Doo" film series, LILLARD has been acting, directing and producing for over two decades. Currently voicing 'Shaggy' for the Cartoon Network's rebooted animated series "Scooby Doo," he recently appeared in "Trouble with the Curve," "The Descendants" and the FX series, "The Bridge." An avid supporter of those in uniform, Lillard has traveled to seven countries with the USO since 2013 and visited more than 3,600 service members.

• A competitor in the UFC's Middleweight division, KENNEDY is a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. One of the few MMA stars to fight professionally and simultaneously serve full-time in the U.S. Army and National Guard, he ranks ninth in the official UFN middleweight rankings. An active duty Ranger-qualified Green Beret, Special Forces Sniper and U.S. Army National Guard soldier with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, he enlisted in 2003. Last deployed in 2008, he authored a three-part series of "Letters from a Foreign Land" that chronicled his experiences in combat.


Attributed to General Frank J. Grass:

"In all the years I've served, I've never seen an organization that's served as many men and women in uniform as the USO. What they've done in the past 75 years is just incredible! For me, this trip has been an amazing opportunity to witness, first hand, the dedication of the men and women of the USO, and the celebrities, who volunteer their time to travel around the world to perform for our troops and thank them for their service and for our freedom. The USO team on this trip has brought smiles to our troops who are serving so far from home. I'm grateful for the USO!"

Attributed to J.D. Crouch, USO CEO and President:

It's always a privilege to work with Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This time around, getting the chance to partner with General Grass during our 75th anniversary year, as well as send out our very first National Guard USO tour is a profound honor. We can't thank everyone involved, including those stationed abroad, enough for their help in connecting our military members to the things they love most – family, home and country." 

Attributed to Jerrod Niemann: 
"Everything about this tour has been life changing, I've learned so much and met so many great people. From the moment we wake up to the moment we close our eyes at night, General Grass and the USO team have been amazing."

Attributed to Tim Kennedy:
"The only thing that matters is the person standing next to you. That is why you serve. That is why you are part of something special and rare. That is why I love the USO. It gives me an opportunity to spend time with my brothers and sisters in service."

Attributed to Sam Perkins:
"Meeting and spending time with the brave men and women who serve our country every day has been an unforgettable experience. I'd like to thank General Grass and the USO for organizing this tour that recognizes the sacrifice these service members and their families have made to protect us."


USO Photos:

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, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson, Kroger, NFL and Four-Star Partners: Advisors Excel, BIC, ConAgra Foods, 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

A photo accompanying this release is available at:


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