Stars, military leaders turn out for USO's 2010 gala
October 8, 2010
WASHINGTON – Actress Rose McGowan said the best trip of her life was visiting U.S. troops in Afghanistan this spring on a USO tour.
“I love getting down and dirty,” she said. “I was covered in Afghani silt and I couldn’t have been happier.”
McGowan, who was in “Death Proof” and “Planet Terror,” was one of the celebrities at the 2010 USO Gala on Thursday.
The actress, who was once set to marry Marilyn Manson, explained why she has an affinity for U.S. troops: “I like tough people with mettle, strong spines.”
She also encourages other celebrities to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan. While they may be afraid of making the trip, “any vacation you’ve ever had at any beachfront locale will be a topped by this in a heartbeat,” she said.
Among the other entertainers at the gala was Madison Pettis, the 12-year-old actress best known as Sophie Martinez in the Disney Channel television series “Cory in the House.”
“I’m a proud of the supporter of the USO because my brother is in the Army, and he’s here today with me, so I’m really excited,” she said. “He served a year in Iraq so I’m really close to this organization, because I know what it’s like to be missing a loved one so far away and not being able to talk to them whenever you want.”
Speaking at the gala, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, applauded the USO for its support to deployed troops worldwide.
“Wherever our nation sends our troops, we can count on the USO to be out in front with us, to serve alongside us, providing a special brand of comfort in airports, foreign ports and battle zones across the globe,” Mullen said.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey praised the USO for welcoming returning U.S. troops as soon as they get off the plane from the war zone.
“My son just got back from Afghanistan on Tuesday and he in came through Baltimore Washington [International] Airport and the USO there had the greeters out there to meet him,” Casey said. “ It happens in airports like that all around the country.”
For troops downrange, the USO provides a priceless taste of home, said Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Just the opportunity: One, to see somebody that might be famous; and two, to see someone that’s from home. It’s just a really good feeling,” he said.
Two people who might make an appearance downrange are Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih and Miss Teen USA 2010 Kamie Crawford, both of whom were at Thursday’s gala and said they want to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“I think that’s where they need us the most,” Fakih said.