The USO to Air First-Ever Virtual Fourth of July Concert Special

July 3, 2020Ethan E. Rocke
uso concert series, coffee or die

Craig Robinson joined an all-star group of entertainers — including Al Roker, Jay Leno, Iliza Shlesinger and Kevin Eubanks — in October 2014 as part of the “Today” Show USO Comedy Tour, which traveled to the Middle East. USO photo

The USO will air its first-ever virtual Fourth of July Concert Special at 12 AM and 12 PM EDT on Independence Day. The special will feature country music icon Clint Black and a variety of USO tour veterans and celebrities who will perform and share messages of thanks to the troops.

The event will include a variety of segments from comedian Iliza Shlesinger, “The Office” actor and musician Craig Robinson, and “America’s Got Talent” world champion Shin Lim. It will also include a special nod to American surf music by Mike Love and The Beach Boys, featuring special guest John Stamos.

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger performs for service members during the 2017 Chairman’s USO Holiday Tour Dec. 24, 2017, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Photo by Staff Sgt. Divine Cox/U.S. Air Force.

Anyone can tune into the three-hour special, which will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. It will be the first of a three-part summer series that continues through August with artists such as Florida Georgia Line, The Chainsmokers, and more.

“Providing high-quality entertainment for our military and their families is in the USO’s DNA,” said Christopher Plamp, USO Senior Vice President of Operations, Programs and Entertainment, in a press release. “With the pandemic, we are still meeting our entertainment mission, reaching thousands of people around the world virtually.”

The summer series is a continuation of the USO’s Military Virtual Programming, or MVP series, which provides virtual delivery of entertainment activities during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Since April 1, the USO’s Entertainment division has hosted 30 virtual engagements across 24 countries and 37 states and territories.

Actor Craig Robinson, comedian Iliza Shlesinger, and former “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno finish up The Today USO Comedy Tour Show held at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Oct. 1, 2014. Photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Luksan/U.S. Army, released.

“This concert series is one example of the programming that positions the USO as the premier military entertainment provider,” Plamp said. “The concerts will also give the American public an opportunity to express our gratitude as a nation and gain an understanding of the critical ways the USO strengthens the service members and their families.”

The concert series coincides with the USO’s 10th Annual T-shirt Campaign. The fundraising campaign runs through July.

“At the USO, we focus on being the Force Behind the Forces. This campaign is a way for Americans to join in and be part of the effort to support our military,” said Dr. J.D. Crouch II, USO CEO and president, in a press release. “When each of us takes action, the collective impact is tremendous. Donations raised will help the USO continue to provide care, comfort and connection to keep our military and their families strong.”

Ethan E. Rocke
Ethan E. Rocke

Ethan E. Rocke is a contributor and former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He served as an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division, deploying once to Kosovo for peacekeeping operations. He then joined the US Marine Corps, serving in Okinawa and the Asia-Pacific region with III Marine Expeditionary Force and at the Marine Corps Motion Picture and Television Liaison Office in Los Angeles, where he served as a consultant on dozens of television shows and documentaries and several feature films. His work has been published in Maxim Magazine, American Legion Magazine, and many others. He is co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi.

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