ARLINGTON, VA. - Olympic Gold Medalist and former Ten-Time World Champion in six weight divisions who turned USO veteran, Oscar de la Hoyatouched down stateside today following a whirlwind seven-day USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour to Kuwait and Iraq. Accompanied by up-and-coming fighters Adrien Broner, Danny Jacobs and Seth Mitchell, De La Hoya led the group to the Middle East on March 8, where they went on to extend their thanks to troops and visit eight military bases. Among some of the installations visited were Camp Arifjan, COB Basra, Camp Victory, Camp Liberty, JSS Loyalty and JSS Justice. (Photos Credit: USO photo by Steve Manuel)
Having lifted the spirits of thousands of servicemen and servicewomen, the group held a series of boxing clinics as well as signed hundreds of autographs and delivered an infinite number of smiles. Most telling of the group's popularity among troops was seen at Camp Victory, where more than 600 troops turned out to attend a USO boxing demonstration featuring the fighters. Despite the tour coming to a close, its impact on De La Hoya and the others were felt once they returned home.
Quotes: Attributed to Oscar de la Hoya:
[On the impact the tour had on his life...]
"Going on this USO tour and spending time with the servicemen and servicewomen who protect our country was a life-changing experience. You don't realize what it means to be a participant in our military efforts and the sacrifices each one of them is making to fight for and protect our freedom until you see it first-hand."
[On what he learned while out on tour...}
"Hearing their stories and seeing what they go through on a daily basis has changed my life. The opportunity to see how our troops live and understand their ability to be ready for anything at a moment's notice showed me what it means to be truly brave."
[On what he plans to do after his tour...]
"I hope that we were able to make a difference in the lives of the troops we met. I am dedicated to continuing to help the USO with their mission of uplifting the spirits of our nation's troops, sharing my experiences and encouraging others to support our brave servicemen and servicewomen in any way they can."