USO Tour brings football, singing stars to Naples
NAPLES, Italy — As vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James Winnefeld has a seat at some of the nation’s most important national security discussions.
He also has Wee Man’s phone number.
The pint-size star of TV’s “Jackass” is one of several celebrity guests joining the admiral for his third and final USO Tour, which hit Naples Monday on a seven-day blitz of overseas military bases around the world. Others along for the ride include Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, TV actor Dennis Haysbert and several American Idol contestants.
Several have made the tour before, including Wee Man, whose real name is Jason Acuna, and Haysbert who is on his seventh go-round. Luck, his coach Chuck Pagano and teammate Dwayne Allen are making their first tours.
Pagano said the decision was an easy one.
“We get to enjoy the lives we have because of their sacrifices and service to our country,” Pagano said.
Several hundred sailors, other servicemembers and their families filled the bleachers in one half of the high school gymnasium. They sang along with former American Idol contestants Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young and Phillip Phillips, as well as 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev.
They whooped when Haysbert, a spokesman for Allstate insurance company, asked “Are you in good hands?” the tagline from his TV commercials.
“I thought I’d do that before you asked,” he said.
Luck threw passes to audience members with Pagano, Allen and David DeCastro, a guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers, on hand.
Winnefeld played emcee to the program, the group’s second since landing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The group will tour more bases in the next seven days before heading home.
“It’s a chance to bring a little bit of Americana to our troops and families stationed here,” he said.