Aaron Tippin spends time with troops on Thanksgiving
TIKRIT, Iraq -- Country music star Aaron Tippin, who crooned such hits as Kiss This and You’ve Got to Stand for Something (Or You’ll Fall for Anything) spent his Thanksgiving with Soldiers of Task Force Band of Brothers, 101st Airborne Division at Forward Operating Base Speicher in Iraq.
Tippin started his visit with the Soldiers by eating Thanksgiving Dinner at the Eagle’s Nest Dining Facility, where officers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade served up some turkey, crab legs, and all the traditional holiday fixings. He didn’t do much eating, however, as he was approached by a steady stream of fans in the dining facility seeking autographs and pictures.
“Since you guys can’t be home with your families for Thanksgiving, I don’t mind being away from mine,” Tippin said. “I just appreciate everything you guys do for us.”
Tippin signed everything he could before heading on a tour of the 1st Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade flight line, where Soldiers gave him an up-close-and-personal look at an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter. Tippin, who said he is a helicopter pilot himself, sat in the cockpit and was briefed on the various controls and features of the aircraft.
While at the flight line, Tippin again made sure every fan who wanted one got a picture and an autograph. Soldiers brought up guitars, CDs and various other items to be signed while Tippin, donning a black T-shirt with the 1st Battalion “Expect No Mercy” logo on it, signed them all.
At the flight line, one Soldier shook Tippin’s hand and told him, “You’re a great American, Sir!” Tippin looked at the Soldier as he walked away and said, “I think you may have that one backwards.”After spending a few hours with the Soldiers, Tippin departed the area to tour the rest of the installation, including the 101st Airborne Division headquarters, before his 8 p.m. performance at the installation gymnasium.
“I think it was good of him to take time out of his schedule to come visit us and show his support and patriotism,” said Capt. Jason Shultz, battle captain for Task Force Band of Brothers. “He was very sincere. I think it meant more to him to be here with us for Thanksgiving.”
Tippin performed an acoustic set at the installation gymnasium, kicking the show off with You’ve Got to Stand for Something. The backdrop for his performance was the Grand Ole Opry East, a division initiative to encourage other performers to entertain Soldiers. He also included the most patriotic song in his catalog – Where stars and stripes and eagles fly – inspired by the events of 9/11.
“He told the story about the song 9/11 inspired him to write,” Shultz said. “The story really motivated everyone.”After his performance, Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner, commander, Task Force Band of Brothers and 101st Airborne Division, presented Tippin with the Screaming Eagle statue to show the task force’s appreciation for his visit. Tippin was the first celebrity to entertain the Soldiers of Task Force Band of Brothers at FOB Speicher.“He gave a very energetic performance,” Shultz said. “You could tell he enjoyed performing for us.”