BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan —
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and his USO holiday tour arrived here yesterday to visit with and entertain U.S. service members, civilians and contractors.
The chairman’s group includes: Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, "Duck Dynasty" cast members Willie Robertson and Jep Robertson, Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Bridget Kelly, former New England Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light, actor and comedian Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles and former correspondent for NBC's “The Voice” Alison Haislip.
Before departing for Afghanistan, Dempsey and the tour group visited with the forward-deployed "Golden Eagles" of Patrol Squadron 9 (VP-9) at Souda Bay, Greece.
There, Dempsey received a tour of a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from members of Combat Aircrew 7 and visited with Patrol Squadron 9 sailors.
Navy Cmdr. Brian Weiss, Patrol Squadron 9’s commanding officer, was proud to have Dempsey aboard.
"It is a rare privilege to host the Chairman and the USO tour," Weiss said. "This visit highlights the importance of our mission here in 6th Fleet, as well as the sacrifices made by our sailors and their families while deployed forward."
Patrol Squadron 9’s crew members appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate their military skills to Dempsey.
“I was able to show how our ability to utilize multiple sensors simultaneously allows us to handle even the most complicated missions,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Medrano.
Patrol Squadron 9 was established on March 15, 1951, and is assigned to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The squadron consists of 71 officers and 276 enlisted personnel who maintain and operate eight Lockheed P-3C Orion aircraft. The squadron is forward deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility and is currently assigned to CTF 67, responsible for tactical control of deployed maritime patrol and reconnaissance squadrons throughout the European and African areas of responsibility.