Greetings Redskins Fans,
This is Tonee and I just finished my 2nd Military Appreciation Tour (WRC Tour #58) in Western Europe with Armed Forces Entertainment and what a whirlwind experience it has been. On this trip we have visited several bases located in Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany. So far in Germany, I have had such an amazing time in Spangdahlem, Wiesbaden, Stuttgart and Ansbach visiting all of the military troops and their families.
On Day 7, we started off by having a quick breakfast in Stuttgart before heading off to Ansbach where we ate lunch with military servicemen and women at a dining facility called "Wings of Victory". (Cool name huh?!) Any time I sit down with someone I like to take the time to really get to know them beyond the surface. And usually we end up talking so much I barely eat my food! Before we finished lunch my teammates and I tried to invite as many military personnel as we could to come see our show that we were having later on that night. We really enjoy every opportunity to perform and provide entertainment for them. What is unique about our show is that our Alumni players play an intricate part in the show. They introduce themselves, answer fan questions, ask trivial questions with prizes, and even assist with the ribbons in our finale dance piece, known as "Proud". Our one hour show is designed for our servicemen and women to forget about everything going on around them, and to come out with their units and comrades for a laugh, to sing, dance, and just have a great time. We typically follow each show with a meet and greet, where we can take pictures and sign photo cards for everyone who was in attendance.
The next day, we had a free day, so our amazing tour guide Mike decided to take us to explore the city of Rothenburg, which has been in existence since the medieval times. This incredible city looks like it belongs in a fairytale. In the city, my teammates and I took lots of pictures, visited the famous criminal museum, and purchased lots of trinkets and souvenirs for our families back home. We even had dinner at a German restaurant and cafe called Ratsstuben. But the best part about visiting Rothenburg was that our guide Mike surprised us with a personal tour of the city by a Night Watchmen named Florian, where we learned more about the history of this marvelous city we were in.
On Day 9, it was back to business. We traveled to an Army base called Grafenwoehr, where we once again ate lunch with our servicemen and women, as well as, invited them to our show in the afternoon. But what was special about this day was that we got to visit a separate, isolated USO Camp Aachen in the city of Bavaria. Soldiers commonly can come to this building to use computers, watch movies, play video games, or just hang out indoors. At this camp we met tons of soldiers, some whom were USO volunteer workers, and helped USO celebrated its 77th Birthday.
On the last day of our Military Appreciation Tour, we arrived at our final destination, the Hohenfels Army Base. Since it was our very last day in Germany, we went to eat lunch at a German Restaurant called Winkler Brau. If you are every in the area definitely stop by and order the Pork Knuckle, a traditional German cuisine, it is delicious!
After lunch we got ready to attend all of the Super Bowl Festivities held on the base. Even though the game did not start until nearly 1:00 AM, that did not stop us from getting the party started early at 7:00 PM. First stop, the Warrior Zone. This bar-like atmosphere is a place servicemen and women come to socialize (i.e. play pool or foosball, hangout with their comrades, etc.). There were plenty of TV's all around the room to watch the game. It was here that we socialized with service men and women and then performed a mini pop up performance of our show.
Next stop was the bowling center on base. We met a small unit of U.S. Marines whom were really excited to meet our Alumni players and take pictures with them. Our last stop was to an outside Hanger, used to store large military vehicles. USO was using this space to host a Super Bowl Party for soldiers who could not come out to the other areas of the base. Despite the chilly atmosphere everyone was in great spirit and so happy to see us. We did another mini pop-up performance, but during our last song, the soldiers surprised us by bringing in a huge military tank. I have never seen a tank in person and was so excited to see what was on the inside and learn how they operate the vehicle. Then it was back to the Warrior Zone where we watched the entire Super Bowl game with the soldiers. Once the game ended we had to leave to catch our flight back home.
During this tour I have made so many incredible memories. I am so grateful and thankful for the opportunity I was presented with that afforded me to ability to visit so many servicemen and women, along with their families throughout Western Europe. This experience is something I will truly cherish for the rest of my life.
Cheers to an amazing Redskins adventure!