NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--May 13, 1998--Garth Brooks took a break from his sold-out concert tour to travel to Washington, DC, yesterday (May 12), and joined the USO in honoring his hero, John Wayne. Brooks participated in ceremonies dedicating the Army's new stealth RAH-66 Comanche helicopter as ``The Duke,'' in memory of Wayne.
After receiving a guided tour of Arlington National Cemetery by Superintendent John Metzler, Jr., Brooks presented a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, on behalf of the USO and in honor of the defenders of America. Accompanying him for the ceremony was Acting Secretary of the Army Robert M. Walker. Following the ceremony, Brooks was introduced to several members of the Honor Guard of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry, who guard the Tomb.
The Army's new stealth RAH-66 Comanche helicopter was dedicated at ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool. In addition to Brooks, speakers included House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott; Senator Strom Thurmond; Michael Wayne (the eldest of John Wayne's seven children); and Elaine Rogers, President of USO Metropolitan Washington.
Brooks explained that he was a huge John Wayne fan and that it was a pleasure to be involved in something that would benefit the servicemen Wayne so admired. ``We've always been the defenders of freedom,'' he said, ``but in recent times we've also become the peacekeepers for the world. With that goal in mind, I'm proud to be here and dedicate this in memory of John Wayne and what he stood for.'' Brooks then unveiled the helicopter and its name, ``The Duke.''
Brooks then proceeded to a reception at the Senate Caucus Room, where he was presented with several gifts. The first, presented by Ron Stewart, President of Colt Firearms, was a collector's edition Colt Defender handgun. Brooks also received a U.S. Flag flown over the Capitol yesterday, presented by U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Dennis Reimer. Finally, Michael Wayne presented Brooks with a John Wayne commemorative bowie knife.
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