Our Favorite Moments from the “World’s Biggest USO Tour”

By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

The USO is known for bringing its entertainment tours to military bases all over the world. Usually only a few thousand troops get in on the fun per event, but on Sept. 12, 2018, the USO outdid itself, putting on what it called the “World’s Biggest USO Tour,” which was broadcast live to military bases across the world.

Comedian Adam Devine performs for service members attending in person and around the globe through streaming video at the World’s Biggest USO Tour in Washington, D.C.. Performances from Devine, Florida Georgia Line and Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine were livestreamed to service members in at 88 USO locations across the U.S. and around the world. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

The show was broadcast from The Anthem, a concert venue in Washington, D.C. Actor and comedian Adam Devine (known for Workaholics, Pitch Perfect and a bunch of other funny stuff) kicked off the show, along with Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a few other military leaders.

Devine makes some jokes while introducing Air Force Gen. Paul Selva and other military leaders who came for the show. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Aside from the 800 guests at the venue, they talked with troops around the world. There were nearly 90 watch parties at bases across the globe, with about 10,000 people watching the show’s livestream, the USO said.

Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva talks remotely with a sailor at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, while the crowd watches. DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Selva even managed to get a selfie with the crowd.

Air Force Gen. Paul Selva gets a selfie with the crowd in Washington, D.C., during the World’s Biggest USO Tour. DoD photo by Katie Lange

Then there was comedy – of course – from Devine, who did the USO Holiday Tour with Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, over the holidays last year. “To see what [the troops] go through on a regular day, and also getting to spend Christmas with them in Iraq – it was pretty mind-blowing,” Devine said.

Devine gets into his stories. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Devine said he wasn’t nervous on that USO Tour, which was his first, because he was with Dunford, “and I think his security team is pretty top notch,” he joked. He was also thrilled the USO asked him to do this event.

Devine then handed the stage over to country superstar duo Florida Georgia Line, who entertained the troops with their hits for more than an hour.

It was the duo’s first USO show, and they were looking forward to connecting with fans. “We’re just excited to give back and show our love and support,” said Tyler Hubbard, one-half of the group.

Service members and their families sing along with Florida Georgia Line. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

The duo’s other half, Brian Kelley, said his grandfather served in World War II. “He was a POW in Germany and received two Purple Hearts. I never got to meet him … but that’s always meant a lot to me, and so we’ve always had a lot of respect for our troops,” Kelley said. “We’re super grateful for what they do and their bravery.”

Florida Georgia Line interacts with fans during the concert. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

There was even fire!

Bringing the heat! Controlled fires erupt onstage behind FGL singer Brian Kelley during the USO show. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Meanwhile, military veteran and celebrity Chef Robert Irvine mingled with the crowd throughout the event. That’s what he’s enjoyed doing on the 14 other USO tours he’s been part of in the past.

Chef Robert Irvine chats with a Marine, who got to announce Florida Georgia Line as they came onstage. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

“I actually work out with the troops. I jump out of planes with them. I shoot with them,” Irvine said. That’s, of course, on top of the two-hour theater show he does for the troops, who pick the cooking challenges for him.

“The show is never the same twice. … I don’t know what food they bring. It’s totally off the cuff,” Irvine said. “You’re deciding what I do – if I wear handcuffs, if you take knives or heating elements away. How do I cook? It’s pretty interesting.”

Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to Chef Robert Irvine before the start of the show. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

He said he’s not half bad with an MRE, either.

“I can create magic from an MRE. The plastic bag that it’s heated in I can make into a piping bag and make a cake out of that,” he bragged, with a smile. We suggest you don’t try it. He is, after all, a pro.

Florida Georgia Line performs. DoD photo by Katie Lange

We also asked Florida Georgia Line which branch they would choose if they went into the military.

“I know for a fact that I couldn’t be on the water. I’d probably get sea sick, so maybe the Air Force – fly some cool jets,” Hubbard answered.

Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley onstage at the World’s Biggest USO Tour. DoD photo by Katie Lange

Kelley’s answer? Not so clear cut. “I know this is weird, and I don’t know if they allow this – probably not – but I’d be a hybrid. I’d go, like, six months Army, six months Marine, six months Navy,” he joked. “Gotta get a little land/water/sea situation going on.”

These Marines were loving the show! DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

We don’t think that’s allowed, but we appreciate the enthusiasm from everyone who helped entertain the troops that night!

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