DefenseLINK News: Charlie Daniels, a rock-solid supporter of the U.S. military who's been entertaining troops around the world for some 35 years, dazzled a foot-stomping, hand-clapping crowd in a jam-packed ballroom at a reception hosted by U.S. Army Europe.
"'He went to the most difficult and dangerous places' in the U.S. Central Command area of operations and entertained deployed military members without accepting a penny for his services, Bell said of Daniels and his band during an interview with the American Forces Press Service.
'He gives of himself selflessly,' Bell said. 'He's got all the qualities of a great soldier.' "
"You should consider Charlie one of us," Army Brig. Gen. Russell Frutiger, USAREUR's deputy chief of staff for personnel, told the group.
Frutiger called Daniels "a relentless morale booster" who not only goes into harm's way to serenade the troops, but also launched "Operation Heartstrings" in partnership with Stars for Stripes to put musical instruments, recorded music, and DVD and CD players into the hands of deployed troops.
During the concert, retired Army Gen. Gordon Sullivan, former Army chief of staff and now president of AUSA, presented Daniels an award honoring his years of service to the military. "Thank you for what you have given to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines ... and the American people," Sullivan said.
While signing autographs, Daniels told the American Forces Press Service he remembers the day Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 and has had a love affair with the military ever since.
"Everyone in uniform is a hero to me," he said. "I've felt that way since I was 5 years old, and nothing has ever changed."
In closing his concert, Daniels expressed his ongoing support and hinted that the Charlie Daniels Band will continue to visit troops when they're deployed.
"Thank you for what you're doing around the world," he said. "And wherever you happen to be, don't be surprised if we show up."