Thursday, December 06, 2007

Redskins Cheerleaders Visit 21 Bases in 11 Days 

Posted by James at 12:01 PM ET

We posted a bit before about the Redskins Cheerleaders in Iraq, but now we've got news and photos from the inside.

Eight Cheerleaders and Director Donald Wells traveled to 21 FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) in 11 days to perform, sign autographs, pose for photos and generally boost morale. Chastity was featured on the cover of the Nov 29th edition of Stars & Stripes singing to a soldier (Someone please send us a scan!). The Cheerleaders got to meet personally with General Petraeus, Commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq, after he got wind of the Cheerleaders wonderful performances. General Petraeus then presented the Cheerleaders with a "Coin of Excellence" in recognition of their contributions.

Here are some photos the Cheerleaders generously shared with us:

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Tonya and Jamilla chowing down with the troops.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Heather and Chastity staying loose.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Tonya and Heather in a chopper.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Anabel and Chastity: armed and dangerous.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Hugs for the troops.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Jamilla, Tiffani, Heather and Abby pose with a couple of soldiers.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Heather and Tiffani enjoying their meal.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Tequia with some ordnance.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Catching up on some sleep.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Just a reminder this is no ordinary Cheerleader appearance tour.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
I'm assuming Jamilla is in one of Saddam's former palaces.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Looks like there are Redskins fans everywhere.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Cheerleaders, Donald and service members.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Posing with a solider.

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
Performing for the troops

And one additional story:

Redskins Cheerleaders Visit 3rd BCT Soldiers

By Sgt. Natalie Rostek
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
from DVIDsHub.net

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Direct from the U.S. nation’s capitol, eight members of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders paid a visit to Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Nov. 26, on Forward Operating Base Hammer.

The visit began with a tour of FOB Hammer. The cheerleaders, Chastity King, Tonya Helman, Abby Dymond, Anabel Dela Cerna, Tequia Hicks, Tiffany Mattingly, Heather Tran, and Jamilla Keene, visited battalion operations centers.

After the tour, the cheerleaders ate dinner with selected Soldiers in the FOB Hammer dining facility. While dining, members walked around the room shaking hands with Soldiers during a brief exchange of “thank you’s.”

“Doing tours like this and talking to the Soldiers really gives me a sense of comfort knowing we are building morale for them,” King said. “It also educates us because we can see firsthand what is going on in Iraq rather than what the media puts out.”

After dinner, the cheerleaders put on a show at the FOB Hammer stage. Their performance consisted of a variety of songs and dances.

“We try to appeal to everyone’s taste,” King said. The eight cheerleaders who volunteered to make the Thanksgiving tour in Iraq formed the most diverse group the squad has fielded, explained King.

“We have dark hair, blond hair, red hair, Jewish, Asian, African American. All men like different things,” King said.

According to Pfc. Steven Fleck, from Warner Robins, Ga., Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, the show was a success.

“I enjoyed it,” he said. “It really brought up our morale. It was great seeing something from home.”

Capt. Nancy Preston, from El Paso, Texas, engineer for the 3rd BCT agreed with Fleck.

“It was extremely entertaining,” she said. Preston explained her favorite part of the show was when Helman held a moment of silence for all of the fallen heroes. The cheerleader later explained her husband, whom she had met during one of their tours overseas, was just recently killed.

“People say they support the troops but you don’t really know how deep their devotion is until you hear a story like that,” Preston said. “I think it’s great that Tonya still continues to support us by coming out here despite her loss.”

When the show was over, the cheerleaders were awarded a certificate of appreciation from Col. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., from Prince George’s County, Md., commander of the 3rd BCT and 3rd BCT Command Sgt. Maj. James Pearson. To end their visit, the cheerleaders signed autographs and posed for pictures with the Soldiers.

The 3rd BCT, 3rd Infantry Division has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom V since March.

Lots of links:

More photos from the Redskins Cheerleader performance at Forward Operating Base Hammer here.

More photos of the Redskins Cheerleaders in Iraq at FoxNews.com.

A video where a soldier wins a trip to the Super Bowl and the Redskins Cheerleader perform here.

And of course we're looking forward to the day-by-day trip journals of the Cheerleaders coming soon to Redskins.com.

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