Kellie Pickler has made it one of her top priorities to support our military. She has traveled overseas on five different USO tours, her most recent taking place over Memorial Day, to entertain the troops. Kellie is on the cover of a special issue of Maxim, Maxim Salutes the Military, and in an in-depth interview, she shared a favorite memory from her USO tours.
“This past trip we were at Camp Spann in Afghanistan, and there’s a little chapel there,” she said. “It’s nothing fancy, but it has a lot of love, and my whole band and I stayed up one night until 3 a.m., picking with the soldiers who played guitar. We had a picking party. It’s kind of like a songwriter round, and people jump up onstage, pick and play whatever they want, and sing their hearts out. It was really cool to do that in a little chapel in Afghanistan.”
Troops stationed overseas in places like Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t staying in luxury accommodations. Many of them sleep in tents and coping with dust and sand is a way of life. When Kellie is on a USO Tour, she eats and sleeps right alongside them. She is so focused on entertaining that the conditions fade away.
“You really forget about your surroundings,” she said. “When I look back at pictures, I’m like, ‘Wow. That was a bit of a dump.’ When we went to Iraq, we stayed in one of Saddam’s palaces. It was kind of creepy. If those walls could talk, there’s no telling what stories they’d tell. It’s nicer than a tent, but in some ways a tent might be better, you know?”
The Maxim Salutes the Military issue featuring Kellie is on newsstands July 31.