Most USO tours offer American servicemen and women an opportunity to get close to some celebrities. One recent tour allowed some of those in Afghanistan to get their hands on folks like Adam Rodriguez and Nick Zano. But it is the photos some soldiers took with and Channing Tatum that are going viral.
The trio met with Airmen and soldiers during a USO tour in Afghanistan back in 2015. The actors took photos, signed autographs and ate meals with Airmen across the wing at Bagram Air Field as part of a United Service Organization tour.
“The six-day handshake tour was the first USO experience for the trio, which spent time with more than 1,500 troops. In all, Tatum, Rodriguez and Zano visited seven bases downrange and the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan,” USO writes.
“My trip with the USO was a once-in-a-lifetime window into the sacrifice and duty that these brave soldiers and their families devote every day to,” Tatum wrote. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the experience. Safe travels home and until then, keep holding it down there and in every other place that flies the stars and stripes.”
Later, after returning home, Tatum learned that one of the Green Berets he had met on the tour was killed.
“I’d like to offer my deepest condolences to the family of First Sergeant Peter Andrew McKenna, a brave soldier we had the honor of meeting in Afghanistan. He tragically lost his life in an attack on one of the bases we visited on @theuso tour back in February,” he wrote on instagram. “Let’s always remember to thank the men and women who serve this county and so often sacrifice their own lives for ours.”
“Sgt. McKenna, a 17-year Army veteran from Bristol, Rhode Island, was just one of the more than 1,500 troops the stars spent time with while visiting seven army bases and the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan,” People wrote at the time.
“The 7th Special Forces Group, to which McKenna was assigned, reported […] that the Green Beret died in Kabul during an attack on the NATO facility, after being struck by enemy small arms fire.
“But there was time for fun and games, too.
“So I will say one thing after spending the afternoon taking photos of Channing Tatum yesterday…he is a good sport. After a long day of tours, photos, autographs, and being mauled by armed women…at the end of the night this female soldier asked if he would take a “Prom Photo” with her, he came back with…”only if I can be the girl.” And that is how this awesome shot came about.”