One more time! AFE shows are bursting with country musicians who support the military. And nothing can hold any of us back. Our concerts may be virtual this year, but the power of music remains very real. Watch this year’s concerts again and relive all the joy in our virtual 70th Anniversary Alumni Tour.
1950s – 1970s
After WWII, the USO began touring “Camp Shows” to military personnel abroad. The Department of Defense formed the Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Office (AFPEO) to officially manage those shows, and included musicians who performed for the USO.
Photo: Marilyn Monroe performing in Korea, 1954
1980s – 1990s
By the close of the Vietnam War, the AFPEO had sent thousands of performers, celebrities and dignitaries to entertain U.S. military, DoD and DSC personnel living overseas. The mission to mount military shows for deployed troops marched forward.
Photo: Bob Hope and Ann Jillian perform during Operation Desert Shield, 1991
2000s – 2010s
The U.S. Air Force was tapped as Executive Agent overseeing celebrity and non-celebrity programs to troops overseas. Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) was formed as a jointly manned office. Country musicians who support the military flocked to AFE to perform.
Photo: Darius Rucker performing in Spangdahlem, 2014
AFE has grown to attract big name artists, including musicians who have performed for the USO and musicians who support the military, through touring shows and series like Heat Wave, Cirque Dreams, Pro Blitz, and Home for the Holidays. Never defeated, in 2019/2020 AFE pivoted to virtual shows when in-person tours were prohibited due to pandemic health concerns. Entertainment for the military abroad remains a viable and attainable mission for AFE.
Photo: Gnash performing virtually for AFE’s Home Grown series, 2020