Home » Foreign Forces » Dunford Brings USO Tour to Carrier Stennis in Persian Gulf

Dunford Brings USO Tour to Carrier Stennis in Persian Gulf

Country music artist Kellie Pickler and a U.S. Sailor perform a song together during a USO tour performance in the hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Persian Gulf on Dec. 23, 2018.

USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) is spending Christmas in the Persian Gulf and will be joined by America’s highest-ranking officer, an Olympic gold medalist, a country singer and Wilmar Valderrama, among others participating in a USO tour.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford is joined aboard Stennis with three-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, three-time CrossFit World Champion Mat Fraser, country music singer Kellie Pickler, “This is Us” actor Milo Ventimiglia and “That 70s Show” actor Wilmar Valderrama.

Three-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Shaun White autographs a jersey for a U.S. Sailor in the galley aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) as part of a USO tour in the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 23, 2018. Navy Photo.

Dunford met with sailors. Pickler performed some of her hits for the crew and sung duets with sailors. Ventimiglia and Valderrama also gave performances, while White and Fraser pumped-up the crew, according to the Navy.

Stennis’ entry to the Persian Gulf marks the first time a U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier has been in the region since March, when USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) departed. Big-deck amphibious warships USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and USS Essex (LHD-2) have operated in the Persian Gulf in the interim.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assists the helmsman during a USO tour aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), Dec. 23, 2018. Navy photo.

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group entered the Persian Gulf late last week. The CSG reported being monitored by Iranian forces, including being shadowed by surveillance drones, but nothing considered out of the ordinary for transiting the Strait of Hormuz, a Navy spokeswoman told USNI News.

When U.S. ships enter the Persian Gulf, the expectation now is that Iranian forces will trail the movements using either smaller boats or unmanned aerial vehicles, Capt. Jack Killman, the commander of Amphibious Squadron 4, Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, said when reviewing his recent deployment to the region during the October NDIA Expeditionary Warfare Conference.

In the past, Iranian officials have stated their naval forces would defend the waters and that the U.S. Navy was not welcome in the region.

Sailors, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and members of a USO tour pose for a photo in the hangar bay aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Arabian Gulf, Dec. 23, 2018. Navy photo.

  • muzzleloader

    Very cool. Thank you General,and God bless you, the whole USO troop, and the crew of the Stennis and her whole CVBG.
    Merry Christmas to all!

    • Centaurus

      Up next…the naked dancers, whoppieee !

      • Ed L

        Only in our dreams.

  • RDF

    Leadership. So different than management, and so easy to see it in action.

  • Duane

    Glad to see this. The happy faces tell it all. Reminds me of the old Bob Hope tours in Vietnam.

    People from on high in society and the military giving up their personal holidays to entertain the troops is an American heritage.

  • honcho13

    I can still remember how important and uplifting the USO Tours were to us, no matter if I was In Vietnam, Diego Garcia, or the Persian Gulf (3 tours) – especially during the holidays! The USO has been there for us service members for many, many years now. Whether it was Bob Hope, Loretta Lynn or Connie Stevens, or one of hundreds of other performers, athletes, or personalities, it always gave you a sense of home and family, and that someone back home still cared. That someone was the USO! So, because you thought of US, and, unselfishly, gave US so much, my heartfelt “Thanks!” and “Merry Christmas” to the USO!

    And, for all my shipmates, near and far – may the joy of the Holiday Season be with you and your loved ones! MMCS(SW), USN (ret)

    • A Peter Algover

      I think no one could do USO Christmas tours like Bob Hope, Bless him.

      • Rocco

        Agreed I got to see him twice on the FID!

  • Pat Patterson

    Valderrama is on NCIS. Doubt if most people remember “That 70’s Show.”

    • Ctrot

      I remember both the show and the actual 1970’s.

      • Pat Patterson

        So do I and the 50’s too!

    • Rocco

      Like my Red Head!!

  • Ed L

    Coming from a large family raised in farm country The USO shows usually left me in a melancholy mood. And being around the Married fellows was worst. Since I was single during those times. I usually would go ashore find willing female for company with the appropriate food and wine. Except in the Arabian Sea which really sucked

  • Western

    Never caught the shows, but USO clubs were a place of comfort for those lonely nights as a single guy, just to listen to music or grab a book and see a smile.

    • Pat Patterson

      I caught one show in Iraq and spent many hours at various USOs since they had computers and snacks. Overnighted at several in the states due to cancelled flights. Enjoyed talking to other troops there and rank never mattered.

  • Jim Wilson

    My son enjoyed the show, and the obvious effort to give the crew a good Christmas. That’s all that matters to me. Regarding any criticism of this tour or the USO, you’ll kindly forgive me if my giveadamn is broken.