Baltimore Ravens squad brings cheer to troops in Afghanistan
By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 3, 2018
KABUL, Afghanistan — Members of the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleading Squad visited NATO’s Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul on Saturday to perform and meet with troops.
It was one of several bases that the group visited in Afghanistan to help boost morale among U.S. and coalition servicemembers.
The co-ed team included five males and six females and began with a routine in which female members were catapulted into the air.
Afterwards, three spectators were selected and asked to do pushups with a cheerleader sitting on their backs.
“It means a lot that people come out here to support us and increase morale to keep on with the mission,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Anthony Walker, one of the three spectators selected from the crowd.
Army Spc. Elijah Baker said he and fellow American troops had been looking forward to the event for days.
“We saw the sign in the chow hall and were all waiting. We were excited,” Baker said. “I’m glad they came out to see us.”
Cheerleader Amanda R., whose last name is being abbreviated for security reasons, said she was nervous before traveling to Afghanistan, but she said Saturday that she was happy she volunteered for the trip.
“It’s an honor for us to be here,” she said. “It’s been amazing to meet the troops and get to know what they do. We want them all to feel that they have a little piece of home while we’re here.”
After the performance, the cheerleaders mingled with the crowd and took photos with troops.
“I think there are a lot of happy men in the room right now,” said Air Force Capt. Vanessa Koodray after taking a photograph with four of the cheerleaders. “I’m happy as well. It’s nice to see people smiling.”