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Dave Attell, a stand-up comedian, gets a crowd of service members laughing during a United Service Organizations holiday show aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 19, 2009. Attell and other celebrities showed their support and appreciation for service members deployed throughout Iraq on their USO tour.

Photo by Cpl Triah Pendracki

Celebrities dazzle deployed service members with holiday show

29 Dec 2009 | Cpl. Triah Pendracki

With many service members still deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, volunteers at the United Service Organizations decided to bring some Christmas spirit to the troops.

“To see the smiles and reaction of the troops is truly a precious gift,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who opened the USO show. “This holiday show has something for everyone.”

Billy Ray Cyrus, a country singer best known for his 1992 hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” posed for pictures and chatted with service members backstage before performing some of his songs on stage.

“This is one of those great experiences you will remember for a long time,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Allen, a mechanic with the Seabees. “[Cyrus] is the main reason I came out to the show.”

Dave Attell, a comedian known for his stand-up, started the show with some of his best politically incorrect jokes.

“I’m trying to get you guys loosened up,” he joked. “Man, you’re acting like you guys are all in uniform or something.”

Anna Kournikova also appeared on stage during the USO show. The former tennis star addressed the troops and thanked them for their service.

“I really appreciate the support these celebrities show for us by coming out here,” said Cpl. Chris Gary, a supply warehouse clerk with II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward). “I have no personal favorites, but this is a great show.”