In April, Army Veteran and country singer/songwriter Craig Morgan returned from his tenth USO tour where he visited seven countries over the span of eight days. Throughout that week, Craig was able to spend time with servicemen and women overseas by not only performing for and entertaining them, but by providing them with some incredibly valuable support.
In an exclusive interview with One Country, Craig opened up about the experience, including what it was like to return to a location where he was once stationed as a servicemember in 1987. “That was really weird— seeing the change that took place in that country,” Craig said of being back in the Korean Peninsula. “The changes in time and technology and the advancements that these countries have made, but also that we’ve made.”
As a part of his tenth tour, Craig also visited western Tokyo, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq and Spain. He was joined by Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul J. Selva, comedian Jon Stewart, NBA legend Richard Hamilton, chef Robert Irvine and MMA Fighters Paige VanZant and Max Holloway. The trip was Richard, Paige and Max’s first of that nature, which Craig says they handled incredibly well.
“If you’ve never done it before, it can be a little scary, and even if you have done it before, you know how taxing it can be,” Craig said of the USO tour. “Anyone that goes over there generally has great qualities about them to want to go do something like that.”
As someone who was once on the receiving end of the experience, Craig knows how much the servicemembers value it. “I can appreciate what it meant as a soldier to have someone come entertain us,” he said.
In fact, Craig remembers being in the Army and seeing Sawyer Brown perform on his own USO tour, which influenced his decision to leave the Army to pursue music. “Every tour I do overseas, I tell the servicemembers that I left the military to pursue music—but it was really songwriting,” he said. “I ask if there is anyone there who thought that was something they’d want to pursue, and we talk about it.”
While he tries to spend time talking with servicemen and servicewomen specifically interested in songwriting, Craig leaves all servicemembers with a special message.
“I encourage servicemembers to pursue their passions upon their completion of tour. Whether they stay for life or for 2-3 years, I try to encourage them to pursue something that they want do that will have an impact our society.”
Craig says that’s exactly what he hopes to do with his own platform— and why he continues to support the troops. “I personally think that anyone who has been given a platform should utilize that platform of the betterment,” he said. “Whatever it is, we should try to do things to make this a better place. Having that relationship with the military for so long, it’s one of those elements I want to focus my attention on and utilize my platform to make it better for those men and women that are serving overseas.”
Overall, Craig called the experience “incredibly humbling.”
“We couldn’t do it without the USO,” he said. “We were really blessed to be with the Vice Chairman of the Joints Cheif of Staff and his wife– they’re beautiful people. He cares about the lowest ranking servicemember all the way to himself. They care about the well being of our military and it’s a pleasure to be out with people like that.”