CRAIG MORGAN AGAIN TOURS KUWAIT AND AFGHANISTAN TO ENTERTAIN THE TROOPS

Craig Morgan, along with 2 musicians, travel to Afghanistan to entertain troops stationed at remote camps.  Craig is no stranger when it comes to the military and military life – he was in the Army before hitting it big with his singing career.  He was also one of the first celebrities to do a Stars for Stripes tour back in 2003 into Iraq.

Craig is best known for his hits “That’s What I Love About Sunday”, “Almost Home”, “Redneck Yacht Club”, and “International Harvester”.

CRAIG MORGAN 

SFS PHOTOS

FRIDAY, MARCH 8TH – SATURDAY, MARCH 9TH:
Finally….another Stars for Stripes Tour. Haven’t been out since December and really missing it.
Left Nashville today for Kuwait and ultimately SWA with Craig Morgan. Have worked with him and the “boys” many times. This time we were allowed to bring a videographer and footage will be aired on Craig’s TV Show. Great guys to work with and it will be a fun trip but more important – wonderful visit for our military.   Celebrities haven’t gone into this region since last November because of the change in Visa processing in Kuwait.   Hoping I have this figured out and we don’t get “stuck” anywhere.
We checked in at the United Counter in Nashville and Craig arrived before us. The lady checking him in was “less than nice”.   My dear skycap friend took us to another lady who was much nicer and ready to help us. After that, the process was smooth.   The lines were longer than I’ve seen in Nashville in years.   Think it’s because so many flights were canceled in the Northeast.
Flight to Nashville left on time and it was a small plane…as usual…and packed. And, of course, Dulles was having high winds….just like my trip a week ago.   Dulles has one of the longest approaches of any airport and we bounced around for about 30 minutes with my palms sweating and me making promises I can never fulfill.   But we landed safely. Brandon – the videographer – was already in the First Class Lounge as he arrived several hours before us.   Kudos to my friends with United in Dulles – Jon and Jackie – for allowing everyone in the Lounge.   There is a new customer service rep – Nancy – and she met us.   What a sweet lady! We bonded immediately because she speaks fluent “Southern”.   J   She said United is making a real effort to improve their customer service. Any effort will be appreciated because every client I have instructs me to book any flights other than United.   Very sad that the airline has that reputation but unfortunately true.
I was on the phone for one hour last night trying to confirm my upgrade. I had talked with someone two days ago and earlier in the day who instructed me to call back exactly 24 hours prior to departure and they would confirm the upgrade. Then the agent on duty last night told me I could not use my upgrade but would have to use miles and PAY a high fee.   She said my booking was in the wrong class to qualify for an upgrade. I asked her why my return flight had cleared weeks ago for the upgrade requested.   This totally baffled her.   I was on hold for 25 minutes, hung up, called back and got a different agent. This one said the same thing that I never should have received the upgrade on the return but since I had, they would also honor the outbound.
We have several hours in the Lounge and have been answering my emails. They still don’t have WiFi on International flights.   Our AFE Rep – Andrea – is supposed to be meeting us at the gate prior to our departure.
Met Andrea and she is GREAT. Really like her and glad she’s with us.   Met the pilots and flight crew and gave them autographed photos and goodies. No chance of getting any of the guys upgraded because it is a FULL flight.   I watched one movie that was okay (but not even good enough for me to remember the name of it!), ate dinner that was not good (as usual) and then slept for 5 hours.
We landed late because we departed late.   Only had a couple of times when there was turbulence but even then it wasn’t bad. Had some cereal and fruit just before landing.   We had to wait in line a long time for our Visas because several Kuwaiti families cut in front of us…they can do that…it’s “their” country. Then it seemed to take much longer than usual for the bags to come out.
Travis and Frank were waiting for us.   I’ve worked with Travis many times before and love him.   Our cute little security escorts were there, too – two that I’ve worked with many times as well.   It’s good to be back among friends.
The hotel had our rooms and keys ready for us compliments of our security guys. Got everyone settled in and I started “sorting” through all the cds and photos for the tour. Took a “batch” to Craig for him to pre-sign for our flight crews, escorts, etc. Andrea and I had dinner in the hotel restaurant and it was another excellent buffet.   Trying to get in bed before 1 am because I want to get up and jog tomorrow before heading to Ali Al Salem for the first concert.
Craig reminded me that he and Jolie Edwards were the very first artists to tour for Stars for Stripes – way back in December 2003! It was one of the most “memorable” tours ever. He’s toured with me since then but I’m sure this one will be just as special. Great guys….all of them!
Jude

MONDAY, MARCH 11, 2013 – BAGRAM AND KABUL:
Any time there is a huge squeegee and a mop in the bathroom – beware – right, Howard?   J
Got up, dressed, went outside to send email and headed to breakfast.   We only had about 30 minutes to eat because they wanted to brief us at the flight line. Keep in mind, it is 7 am and the aircraft doesn’t depart until 10:30 am. If it were the military making these rules, I could comply a little easier.   But since it is civilian contractors being paid with our tax dollars, it definitely doesn’t sit well with me.   Sure enough, we hurried up only to wait until 10 am to board the flight and it was wheels up at 10:30 am.
There were only a few other people on the flight besides us but the plane was full with cargo.   There were no seats other than the webbing along the side.   But it was a short flight – only a little over 3 ½ hours to Bagram. Our wonderful escort who took such good care of me with Darryl Worley last year – Marc – met our flight. Since we landed a little after 4 pm and our Chinooks to Kabul did not depart until 9 pm tonight, Marc had arranged for us to visit a Special Ops site right beside the terminal.   We also had time for a visit to the Exchange.   The visit with the SO was terrific.   They barbequed steak and chicken and I’m convinced it will be the best meal we have in Afghanistan.
Only about 15 guys at this site and Craig and the guys got the guitars out and played a few songs for them.   Then Craig asked who played guitar and one of the guys took over. He was really, really good, too.   Then, Craig and the guys just “talked” and told stories for hours. It was really a special visit for us and for those guys.
Our Chinooks were about 25 minutes later than planned but since we are flying into ISAF Headquarters instead of Kabul International, it wasn’t so bad. The Sec Def just left today, so that freed up some folks to take care of us at ISAF.
It was only a 10 minute flight but pretty “choppy”.   I was worried about Travis but he actually did great.   He said not that he has one under his belt, he’ll be fine.   Of course, I’m sure Craig and the others will continue to mess with him. J
Donna is our host here and we have great lodging in DV quarters.   We each have our own room and a bathroom in the room.   Luxury!!!
Only thing we don’t have is internet access using our own computer in our rooms. We have a base computer but that doesn’t help me much.   Marc walked me down to the coffee shop (which was closed) where we were told we could log on.   NOPE. We went back up to a “Café” that was about to close.   I got logged on and sat out front in the cold on the steps and answered some emails.
I had told Kyle our lodging was at KIA but I was wrong.   I send him an email and he responded immediately.   He was still up and Marc and I were hungry so I told him to meet us at the DFAC. We had to walk back to lodging to leave my computer first because “bags” are not allowed in the DFAC. We got lost. Marc’s sense of direction is no better than mine which is non-existent.   But what a great guy to be “lost” with!   We asked several people where our lodging was but since this is a NATO base we constantly picked people who were not Americans.   We finally found it and by that time Kyle was texting me trying to find me.
Finally made it to the DFAC for a “light” dinner but really just to see Kyle. He looks so great.   Has lost a lot of weight and I think he likes what he is doing here – making a difference.   Spent a little time with him and then headed back to lodging.   Kyle walked us so we wouldn’t get lost.   Did I mention that he has been one of my dearest friends since we met at Camp Summerall Iraq in 2004?   He is the one who lost the soldier (Josh Henry) the day after Chely Wright’s performance and we stay in touch with Josh’s parents. He said when he first came to Kabul, he stayed in the same room they gave me.
I just found out a General who is a dear friend of mine is still here but leaving tomorrow. I had been chatting on the internet with his wife before we came over and she said he would already be home.   But, he’s not and I’m hunting him down first thing tomorrow.   He was a Colonel when I met him in Ramadi and with my dear friends Karri Turner, Dave Price and two former NFL players.   We were at his camp the night before Saddam was executed and woke up the next morning to hear about his execution.   This is also the General (Colonel) at the time who instigated the plan of having the troops LIVE in the villages with the Iraqis and win their hearts….which is ultimately how we succeeded in Iraq.   I also took Chely Wright to the unit’s Welcome Home Celebration later that year in Germany.   Small world in the military.
Kyle walked back to lodging with us because he was convinced I could plug my computer into the “system”.   I was convinced they would confiscate my computer if we tried. We tried.   It wouldn’t allow me access.   Then I noticed my heater isn’t working.   Hiked upstairs to get Marc to come look at it.   Of course it kicked on as soon as we walked back in.   He also pointed out that a little wall heater in the bathroom that turns on with a chain will heat the entire room.   Took a shower and the “clip” that holds the shower head is broken. So had to figure out a way to hold onto it and wash my hair at the same time.   Let’s just say, it got interesting! It’s after 3 am and I have to get up at 6 am.
I found out we are allowed to say where we are….just can’t tell performance sites or dates until after they happen.   Now if I can just get my email to connect tomorrow, I’ll send this out!

TUESDAY, MARCH 12TH – KABUL, AFGHANISTAN:
My first question to Kyle will be “How in the world did you sleep on that mattress?”.     When I first at on it, it seemed to “sway” and was unbelievable lumpy. I finally folded up the blanket and comforter and tried sleeping on top of that. I woke up and looked at the clock and it was 6:30 already.     I thought I had overslept but instead, I had set one of the clocks incorrectly. This “1/2” hour time difference is so hard to deal with.     I was thinking there was no way I could go to breakfast.     Then I realized I had only slept for one hour!
Started to put on my sunglasses and the arm was broken.     It was just the little screw that had fallen out so I got a pair of tweezers and tried to repair it. Thirty minutes later, I got it in.     But it only lasted a couple of hours and then fell apart again. Had to go to the Exchange and buy a pair I don’t like for $75.00.     But they are padded and will keep the dust out.
We walked down for breakfast at a “Café” since it served later than the DFAC. Had a great omelet. Walked back to lodging for a few minutes where I spent my entire free time opening cds. Just not enough time to try and go down and get on the internet.     Marc came by and was lying on my bed talking to me while I worked and even he said the mattress was horrible.
We walked around the small compound which is in a square for hours visiting different sites, signing autographs and taking photos. Finally ran into Kyle at one point.     I missed seeing my friend General MacFarland as he left early this morning. Had a quick lunch at the DFAC and then it was time for an autograph session. We were not aware that this had been scheduled and do not like to do these prior to a concert. Every artist prefers to sign after the concert.     But, it had been advertised and we didn’t want to disappoint anyone. It was outside under a covered patio and it started POURING rain.     And….we still had 100 people show up.     Everyone keeps telling us that no celebrities have visited here in at least two years.
I went by the gym to see if we could change the location of the “backstage” area from a separate building to a little petitioned off area beside the stage.     Got that worked out and I had to CRASH for an hour until dinner time. Laid down and could NOT go to sleep for anything.     Guess I was just too tired.
Everywhere we went today, I tried to access the internet and nothing worked. Got pretty frustrated answering everything on my blackberry!
We walked back over for sound check and then it was show time! We had a really great “NATO” forces crowd….lots of countries represented by the different uniforms, plus lots of “suits” and of course, our guys. Craig and the boys gave an awesome show. It was an older audience because there were so many General Officers there than the “12 year olds” we played for when we were going into Iraq (LOL) but everyone was very enthusiastic!     We were all presented with certificates and coins after the event which was really special, especially for Brandon who is on his first visit here.     Kyle kept “coming and going” because he is dealing with a couple of emergency situations.     But, we got to chat for a while and he met us for dinner at the “Café” afterwards. Going to see him one more time before we fly out tomorrow morning.
My only disappointment was that our flight into country yesterday changed and we did not fly into Kabul International Airport. My dear friend Colonel Hayes’s son is there and I had emailed him to say I would deliver a hug to him from Dad. KIA and ISAF HQ are only a few miles apart but it takes a mountain of paperwork and about a 45 minute drive to visit between the two sites. He couldn’t come to us and we couldn’t get to him. Very unhappy about that.
We had a great visit and show at ISAF HQ.     Tomorrow we visit FOB Phoenix.     I was there a couple of times years ago so will be interesting to see how it has changed!
It is after 10 pm and I am going to bed before 1 am tonight!     No idea what the internet access will be like tomorrow.
Jude

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13TH – KABUL TO FOB PHOENIX:
What a night.     I got in bed at midnight and at 1:30 am, I woke up and thought I had slept all night.     Went back to sleep but woke up at 3:30 am and no matter what I tried, I could not go back to sleep.     I finally just got up, dressed and went to the MWR room to work on the internet.
We had breakfast at 8 am and Kyle joined us.     Guess it’s the last time I’ll see him for a while as we are supposed to fly out at 9:20 am.     Before breakfast ended, we were told “weather” was delaying our departure and it would be around 10:30 am.     Then it moved to noon.     We had to cancel all the activities we had planned during the day for Phoenix. People came up to me all morning and thanked me for bringing Craig and the guys to ISAF.     They were talking about what a huge morale boost it was for everyone there.
Andrea and I sat in the “Café” for a couple of hours waiting for the choppers to land. When they did, it was one Chinook and one Blackhawk. Never had that configuration before. As we were loading the Blackhawk, the loadmaster stopped me, Marc and Donald and motioned for us to get on the Chinook.     I suppose there must have been other passengers on the Blackhawk when it landed because there should have been plenty of room for all of us on there.     It was only about an 8 minute ride to FOB Phoenix.     Years ago when I was here, I remember that they had just built a beautiful little chapel.     It’s still there and was the “backdrop” for the show today.
We had a wonderful briefing as soon as we landed. General Hall gave the briefing and ended it with gifts for everyone.     We went to the DFAC for lunch and by the time we finished there, it was time for sound check and then the show.     They made the “weather call” to perform outside at Patriot Square and the show started at 3 pm.     Craig performs for one hour and about 4 General Hill gave the briefing and ended it with gifts for everyone.     We went to the DFAC for lunch and by the time we finished there, it was time for sound check and then the show.     They made the “weather call” to perform outside at Patriot Square and the show started at 3 pm.     Craig performs for one hour and about 30 minutes into the show, black clouds started rolling in.     About 50 minutes into the show, lightning was clearly visible. When he finished, we moved to a covered area where he signed over 100 autographs. It poured rain the entire autograph session.     Our escorts said they estimate about 300 people attended the concert….much more than I expected.     Again, this is a FOB that has not had entertainment in more than a year. Aaron was scheduled to come here in December when we had to re-route that tour to Germany. The troops here are country music fans because they are predominately from Georgia, Alabama and Texas…and they talk like I do. It was a great evening.
The guys and Andrea went shopping after the concert and purchased some “knock-off” bags.     Marc came to my room to help me get on the internet.     The provider our escort gave us was not popping up and I finally purchased service through Sniper Hill.     I don’t mind paying at all but Sniper Hill is usually incredibly slow. It’s not “too” bad this time. At least I can sit in my room and work as late as I need too.
We had dinner at the DFAC at 7 pm and I think the others were going to smoke cigars and see if tonight was “Salsa Night” at the club. I took a shower and worked on my email.     Marc came by and went over the itinerary for tomorrow…our last day in country. Hard to believe! Our choppers that will take us out of Morehead tomorrow night are going to be much later than we anticipated.     Makes me nervous as we must get back to Bagram tomorrow night in order to take our plane from Bagram back to Kuwait on Friday. If weather rolls in, we could get stuck at Morehead.     Just have to hope for the best!
Going to bed earlier tonight and hope to be able to sleep for more than an hour or two! Looking forward to Morehead tomorrow as it is a Special Forces site with only about 100 guys there.     They have some fun things planned for the guys – shooting on the range (which is going to be a mud pit) and climbing South Mountain. Marc says it is beautiful there because it’s in the mountains.     Just hope we have pretty weather!
Jude

THURSDAY, MARCH 14TH – FOB PHOENIX TO MOREHEAD:
I keep forgetting to include this in my Road Reports….when we choppered in from Bagram to Kabul the other night, we all left the chopper landing site and Marc and Dawn (our host) stayed behind to load the equipment and bags.   Everything was off the choppers but still in the containers and just sitting on the landing zone.   As you know, we arrived in two Chinooks.   As they were standing there, two blackhawks decided to land right on top of them. Marc said they started running as fast as they could and luggage and equipment was airborne for several minutes.   Fortunately the Blackhawk pilots finally saw them and aborted the landing.
At FOB Phoenix, there are folks from Georgia, Alabama and Texas. That means for the first time since the tour began, there was “grits” on the breakfast bar….regular and cheese. Oh how I love the South. J   The troops here are serving 9 month rotation with no R&R except for 4 days off in country.   Everyone I’ve talked to here really loves General Hall and serving under him. Definitely makes for a nicer deployment when your Commanding General is a great guy.
I slept off and on from midnight until 4:30 am this morning.   More than the other nights, at least.   Got up and worked a while and then decided to dress and go to breakfast. I hung my clothes in the closet last night in hopes that some of the wrinkles would fall out. Also went in the closet a couple of times to get a mop and try and clean up some of the water in the bathroom floor from the shower.   (Which, by the way, the shower does not turn off!   A steady stream of cold water poured out all night long which is another reason I slept “off and on”.   No way to turn it off).   This morning when I tried to open the door to get my clothes, it was locked! I did not lock it and have no idea how it locked.   Of course, it is an industrial strength keyed knob. No key anywere in site. I tried my Swiss Army knife and several other things but nothing worked.   At least I had one more set of clean clothes so I dressed, went to the DFAC and got a to go box and then waited for billeting to open. Ran into Marc on the way to billeting. No one was in the office but there was a number to call.   We went back to my room and ran into Bo on the way.   They both tried to open the door and the lady from billeting also stopped by. One broken knife, one broken file, a destroyed room key and lots of cursing later, they got it open. Of course as soon as it opened, the maintenance guys showed up to work on it.
We left on time and I was going to ride on the Chinook again with Marc and Donald and the equipment but they motioned me onto the Blackhawk. Had to ride facing backwards which I am not so fond of but the ride was so smooth, it was fine. It was only about a 15-20 minute ride and the scenery was interesting.   We flew over heavily populated areas with beautiful mountains in the background. Landed at Morehead and walked up the hill for our briefing.   We are going to be here today for the Dedication Ceremony where they rename one part of the camp.   It will be named Camp Riley Stephens after SFC Riley Stephens who was killed last September.   They have lost a lot of guys but guess that is to be expected given the nature of their work here.
The Afghan Commando Training Camp is located at the base of this camp. Our guys are here to train them and say they are really doing a good job protecting their country. I like that it takes our guys off the front lines and hopefully means less lives lost.
After our briefing, we went to the range to let the guys (and Andrea) “shoot things”. They had a blast…no pun intended. I don’t know how many different weapons they shot.   It is still overcast and sprinkling rain, so I sat in the vehicle after a while because it is very cold.
We had lunch at the DFAC and the food is very good here.   The guys decided to go “blow up things” and I decided to stay behind and watch. It was just as loud from where I was as it was out with them.   Craig wanted to ride dirt bikes but the guys said they weren’t working. He assured them he could get them working and did.   Glad I wasn’t there to see it because he crashed pretty hard.   At least the only thing he broke was his Iphone.   His knees are scraped beyond belief though and of course, he thinks it’s “cool”! I told him I’m telling his wife and manager that he fell on the stairs in Kuwait because they will never let him tour with me again!
The show was outdoor around a fire pit only they didn’t light a fire….and it was COLD! Hard to play guitars with frozen fingers.   But the crowd loved the show.   We did go into a conference room to sign autographs and warm up.
Looks like we had another casualty…..Brandon lost a pelican case with his memory sticks in it. The one with all the footage from today was in there and the other two were blank. He thinks he lost it when they were blowing up things.   They went back out and looked everywhere but didn’t find it.   So disappointing.
We went to dinner at the DFAC and then Craig went up to sign the plaques that are being given to their two fallen soldiers.   We had a little “down” time to work on the internet before our choppers arrived at 9 pm to take us to Bagram.   This time it was two Chinooks and they flew with the back open…freezing cold! We are now back at Bagram and in our lodging.
Our flight back to Kuwait doesn’t depart until 8 pm tomorrow night which means we won’t be back at the hotel until around midnight or later. L
It has been such a great tour.   We got to exactly the sites that really needed a visit and Craig and the boys were awesome to work with, as usual!   One more show tomorrow night at Arifjan and then we board a plane at midnight for the U.S.
Jude

FRIDAY, MARCH 15TH – BAGRAM TO KUWAIT:
Got in bed by 1 am and up at 6 am. Our military escort slept in the bunk between Andrea and I and pretty much peeled the wallpaper off the walls with her snoring.   J   We gave her hell this morning.   Andrea said she was considering yelling “Incoming” at one point. LOL
Marc gave us the bad news that Customs wanted our personal bags before 10 am today. So ridiculous but nothing we can do about it.   We are definitely not given “DV” status on that part of our tour.
Dressed and Andrea and I walked over to the DFAC for breakfast.   What an amazing breakfast menu.   I limited myself to an omelet, grits, yogurt and watermelon.   Wish they had the breakfast menu for lunch.
Walked back to lodging and got everything packed up and delivered to Marc. Have been answering emails and now going to take a little “nap”….I hope!   We have so much time to kill.   We don’t go over to the terminal until around 3 pm and then we are in “lock down” there until our flight departs at 8 pm.   Going to be another “long” night….   But tomorrow I get to go home and kiss Zac and Zoe for hours before Lindsey gets back from Switzerland.
Andrea and I walked up to the Bazaar and PX and ran into one of the SF guys from Riley yesterday.   We were surprised to see him here and he said there is a Memorial Service today at 1:30 pm and invited us.
Ate lunch at the DFAC with Andrea and then it was time to walk over for the Memorial Service.   I have been on lots of “Angel Flights” and attended numerous “ramp” ceremonies but never a memorial service for a fallen SF guy.   It was so touching. I did fine until his buddies got up to say things about him and choked up as they were talking. I learned that the personal body guard to the Afghan Police Chief had grabbed a machine gun and killed two of our guys, 3 Afghan policemen and injured 21 others (many of them our guys) before he was killed.   The Afghan Police Chief attended the ceremony.   He was on crutches and had a cast on his leg.
We had a few minutes before going to the passenger terminal (at 3:30 pm for an 8 pm flight.   Did I mention how silly that is?)   We had to clear customs and everyone had knives in their carry on bags. We had no idea we were going through customs with our carry on bags.   Andrea convinced them to take the knives and get them to our palletized bags for us.
Waited in the DV lounge where they have awesome wireless.   We walked over to Subway and got sandwiches and some of Craig’s friends brought the others pizza.   Just found out our aircraft makes a stop in Kandahar.   No telling what time we will get into Kuwait.   They called a flight “Moose 52” for Kandahar.   Our flight number was Moose 50 so we were confused.   Andrea and I walked down to find out what was going on.   The terminal agent assured us that there were 2 flights going to Kandahar and we were on Moose 52.   But, one of the other guys working in the terminal corrected him and said our flight was coming FROM Kandahar.   So at least it will only be a 4 ½ hour flight to Kuwait…with no stops.
We boarded at 7 pm and all the seats were filled as well as the seats along the sides of the walls.   We took off early – 7:40 pm and it was an easy flight.   I slept almost the entire flight.   We landed at 11 pm and our escorts were waiting for us.   But, our pallet had been mis-coded and did not come to where we were waiting for it. Andrea and her husband had to go back to the flight line and find out where it had been taken. Finally at 1 am, we drove to the hotel.   Arrived at 2 am and it was almost 3 am before I got into my room. Andrea made the decision to cancel the office call at Arifjan so the guys can get some sleep. The Base Commander wasn’t going to attend and we can meet the others backstage at the show.

SATURDAY, MARCH 16TH – SUNDAY, MARCH 17TH – KUWAIT TO USA:
Was in bed by 4:30 am and up at 9:00 am.   Had breakfast with Andrea and then had a great workout at their gym. Felt good after all these days with no official “exercise”.
We leave for Camp Arifjan at 4 pm, then it’s sound check, VIP Meet and Greet, Performance, Shower, and go to the airport.   If all goes well, I will be home by 9 am Sunday morning!
It was a short drive to Arifjan and an even shorter sound check. We arrived at 4:50 and were finished by 5:15. I don’t think I’ve ever been in this venue as many times as I’ve been to Arifjan. Of course, we are usually outside because it is a full band.   Tina – who I worked with previously – met us with Frank and some of the officers from the base.   Craig signed autographs and took photos with the VIPs prior to the performance because we have to leave for the airport afterwards. They brought some great food for us but we had to keep it until after the show since the show started at 6 pm. This is an AAFES theatre and seats about 250 people.   All the seats were filled and people were standing around the edges. There was a group of line dancers there with white t-shirts and they had “decorated” those with the title of Craig’s songs.
Craig and the guys did another great performance.   Very high energy and “engaging” for the audience.   He always brings the audience into the show by having them call out a few words for him to “write and sing” a new song.   They love it.
I think there were more people in the autograph line than there were at the show. I gave out 230 photos and lots of people wanted an item like a guitar or cap autographed instead of a photo.   We were trying to limit everyone to one item so we could get through the entire line before we had to leave for the airport – one hour later. We still had over 100 people left when we were scheduled to depart to lodging for a quick shower before flying. But Craig wanted to stay so we took the guys over for the shower and everyone else stayed. We finished the line and had about 15 minutes before we needed to leave. Andrea opted for a “combat” shower.
Our security detail met us at the airport and we breezed through security, check in and immigration.   When we departed Nashville, the website was showing that United was going to charge for a second bag.   This was never the rule before on a flight to SWA. Everyone is supposed to be allowed 2 checked bags.   But when we checked in, they didn’t charge us which was truly a miracle!
We were supposed to have about an hour in the lounge.   The agent in there told me she would call the flight an hour prior to boarding. We were scheduled to take off at 12:10 am and when it got to be 11:30 and no one had called our flight, I asked her why.   She said she would call it at midnight.   I reminded her that it departed at 12:10 am and she seemed surprised. We headed for the gate without an announcement and almost everyone had already boarded. I gave the flight crew autographed photos. It was a full flight.
I ate a really horrible dinner.   Chose the fish as it seemed the “safest” but not sure now.   Watched “Life of Pi” and slept about 4 hours.   Was able to get quite a bit of work done the remaining TEN hours on the flight. We actually landed an hour early into Dulles. But Immigration was not open and we had to stay on the plane until they could find someone to work the counter. Baggage took forever to come out but at least we got everything.   We still had about an hour before our flight to Nashville.   That flight also left on time, no turbulence and I was home before 10 am!
What a wonderful visit with the military personnel in Kuwait and Afghanistan. Craig and his guys are so great at expressing to their sincere appreciation and love to everyone they meet. All our escorts were great. We didn’t miss any performances due to weather or transportation. Just don’t see how the tour could have been any better!
Jude