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Guam USO holds military appreciation weekend

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chris Powell
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
When he formed Confederate Railroad in the early 1990s, Danny Shirley had no idea nearly 20 years later his band would one day play in far off and exotic places such as a naval base on Guam. 

But that realization happened for the band's lead singer as he and the rest of the group performed at the United Service Organizations Gala Saturday and at the Naval Station Guam Sunday. 

"I never thought going to Guam would be on our list, but we're glad to be here and we're having a great time so far," Shirley said during a press conference May 18. 

The Atlanta-based country band has always supported America's troops and has even played at a few military bases, but this is the first time it's worked with the USO, and Shirley said he hopes it isn't the last. 

We came here to support the military, and we're thrilled to be here," Shirley said. "No matter what happens, we still have to support the troops, and hopefully, this will start a habit [for us] of going to bases outside of America." 

While the band was happy to perform in front of the troops, Guam's USO director was just as happy to provide servicemembers with quality entertainment. 

"I was thrilled to see the military stand up and dance to Confederate Railroad. Even though they were in all their regalia, they got up and danced," said Leigh Graham, Guam's USO director. "And at the naval base, I was thrilled to see people sitting out and waiting to see the band. There were sailors who asked to take the banners back to their ships and small children who sung along with the band." 

While Confederate Railroad was the main attraction, the USO partnered with Anheuser-Busch and Ambros Inc. to make it all happen. 

"Anheuser-Busch has a long history of supporting and working with the military," said J. Lee Babb, Anheuser-Busch Asia Pacific region manager. "Going back over 60 years, Anheuser-Busch has worked with the USO in providing, not only the finest beers but the finest entertainment, bringing a 'taste of home' to the soldiers, sailors, Marines ad Airmen based around the globe." 

The proceeds from the USO's inaugural event will help fund its operations and support future programs. 

"Our target goal was to raise $24,000, and I feel sure that we met our goal," she said. "These funds go towards operational costs." 

Before Confederate Railroad wowed the crowd at the USO Gala, there was an award ceremony to honor each present service's top junior enlisted member. Andersen's award winner was Staff Sgt. Derrick Uzzle, 36th Medical Support Squadron. 

"I was overwhelmed just to be the recipient," Sergeant Uzzle said. "But I was honored to represent the base and the Air Force." 

Sergeant Uzzle was previously selected as the 2006 Pacific Air Forces Management Airman of the Year and the 36th Wing Airman of the Year.

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