Monday, December 24, 2007

DCC Prepares to Embark on 65th USO Tour 

Posted by Sasha at 5:28 PM ET

Pamela Jagger Purcel
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
December 18, 2007

IRVING, Texas - It's been nine years since my best friends and I packed our matching Samsonites, kissed our families good-bye and crossed the International Dateline headed for Seoul, Korea. The opportunity to show patriotism is never better than as a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Show Group, where the occasion to thank our U.S. troops personally in their rugged workplace is an unforgettable experience.

While I'd do it again in a heartbeat, I'm not exactly sure the soldiers would be clamoring to see us in the famous star-spangled uniforms, so we'll sit this one out and let the current Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Show Group carry that torch into the Land of the Morning Calm.

The DCC dress rehearsal for the 65th USO tour was held at the Dallas Cowboys' Valley Ranch complex Monday night, and as is tradition, families, friends and alumnae were all present to catch just a glimpse of what the hard-working DCC members would be doing overseas. The 12-member group leaves Dec. 19 at 4:30 a.m.

The dance studio was filled to capacity as all waited to see the holiday version of DCC's variety show, "America and Her Music." But before the performing would begin, Director Kelli Finglass welcomed the crowd and read a few of the letters she had recently received regarding the Cheerleaders' work with the military. Two letters in particular thanked the organization for its dedication to the U.S. troops. One of those letters was penned by President George W. Bush.

After reading the accolades written by the Commander in Chief, it was time to begin the show.

The variety show dazzled with costumes, appealing performers and intricate choreography. As always, the DCC outdid itself by stretching the performers to the best of their capabilities. Lightning-fast costume changes made the time fly by almost too quickly.

Rookie Erica Jenkins said she was very excited about the upcoming tour, the performances and spending Christmas overseas with the Cheerleaders.

"We're like sisters so I am really excited to spend the Holiday with them. Plus, I've never seen snow," Jenkins said.

Chances are pretty good she'll share a white Christmas with her teammates.

While I am admittedly partial to that DCC Show Group of the late 1990s, I have to admit this year's group is seriously deep in talent. They may be the best I've seen (pardon me Ronda, Regina, Pennie et al; but you'd agree if you saw them). As always, they have captivating personalities and beautiful smiles, so one can only imagine the impact they'll make overseas on the thousands of homesick soldiers they'll meet.

A special guest at the dress rehearsal was U.S. Army Colonel William Pomeroy who has worked with the DCC on many of their tours since 1983. Col. Pomeroy spoke eloquently to the Valley Ranch audience, explaining that the Cheerleaders' positive impact lasts long after the DCC goes home. He has personally seen beaming faces on young soldiers days, weeks and even months after the Cheerleaders have returned home to Dallas. He remarked that autographed DCC photos hang everywhere on the posts and bases where the DCC have appeared, serving as both reminders of the cheerful visit and a promise of future tours to anticipate.

After the patriotic finale ended and the ladies departed the dance floor, Finglass thanked everyone for supporting the ladies and explained that there is no better feeling than knowing that the current Show Group really does deliver a punch of excitement and an often-needed boost to morale. After all, the organization has been touring since 1979; the chance for complacency is possible. She remarked that the ladies' commitment to the work is undeniable.

Veteran Megan Fox, who is as warm as she is very pretty, absolutely radiated patriotism. She explained that having the opportunity to travel to the remote mountain-top locations where soldiers live a solitary existence for extensive periods of time is one of the most gratifying parts of the trip.

"This is the greatest job in the world and it's just too bad we can't do it forever," Fox said.

Fox is right. The job doesn't last forever, but the impact on the soldiers just might . . . and I can tell you the impact on those young Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will resonate as a profound appreciation for the U.S. military deep in their hearts forever.

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