Pickler returned to the states last Wednesday (12/19) from what was her sixth USO tour overseas to perform for U.S. troops as part of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s annual USO holiday tour.

“It’s always different coming here this time of year,” Pickler said, prior to her performance at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on Dec. 16.

Other celebrities that joined her on the seven-day, four-country tour throughout the Middle East include  Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen of the Washington Nationals, Matt Hendricks of the Washington Capitals and comedian Iliza Shlesinger.

All participated in an array of hospital visits and USO meet and greets, each tailored to bring a touch of home to the servicemen and women making the biggest sacrifice. Stops included: Bagram Air Base and Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart in Germany; and a visit with Sailors stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, among other locations.

“[During] the holidays, everyone wants to be home with their families and loved ones. And I know it’s just as hard for [your] families back home, so they’re making a sacrifice as well. I just want to say thanks so much for all that you do, and thank you to your families as they make a huge sacrifice. This time of year is really hard so I hope that you know that we love you. The USO, all of us, we are praying for a safe return home for you all. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

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