Toby Keith Recalls Joys and Dangers of Entertaining Troops
Toby Keith has been traveling to the war zones for over nine years with the USO, making 167 trips so far. The country superstar is a tireless supporter of the military men and women who defend our country, going over to entertain them in oftentimes dangerous territories. "Me getting to go and see their faces light up and be on a base with 25 guys in the middle of nowhere on the Pakistan Border is all I need for a reward," Toby tells The Boot.
It's one thing to show up at a safe venue on American soil to entertain loyal fans, but it's a whole different story when one goes to a war zone. We caught up with Toby to ask him about the scariest situation he's ever encountered on one of his USO tours.
"The same guys have been with me ... the same five that I take," Toby explains. "We argue over what was [the scariest]. We had three or four things happen. We got shot at coming out of Mosul [Iraq] in a helicopter, but we didn't know we were being shot at until we landed and asked why we flew kind of sideways for a little bit. We had mortar hit in Kandahar and everybody had to get in a bunker for an hour-and-a-half. We rolled an MRAP [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected] vehicle up a mule trail on the Pakistan border. And that MRAP is a gazillion pounds -- it's a big, high-set, heavy-duty truck that sits way up off the ground, and the wheels just barely sat ... there was no shoulder on either side of the road, and it was straight down. For some reason that was the scariest that everybody agrees that they thought we were going to [die] ... and [someone] died on the way up because they were stuck in the middle. You couldn't really get out of the truck very good because there was no place to step. For some reason that never did alarm me because they had been up and down that mountain a lot, and I wasn't too afraid. But everybody says that was the scariest thing.
"The scariest thing I think I ever did was rode a convoy in Baghdad. We left Camp Victory and got in a convoy and rode out over 30 miles to Abu Ghriab prison, and everybody said that wasn't a big deal, and I was really nervous the whole way."
A far less frightening event in Toby's future is the upcoming release of his latest album, 'Bullets in the Gun,' due October 5.