NHRA Champions Join USO Tour for American Soldiers in Kuwait and Germany

 
 
From the heart and soul of the American racetrack to the heart and soul of the American soldiers in Germany and Kuwait, there is goodwill. The goodwill comes from a USO sponsored tour with representatives of the National Hot Rod Association and K&N sponsored racers. The NHRA drivers spent a lot of time in the hospital rooms of injured American soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

NHRA Pro Stock Champions Warren Johnson and Jason Line visit American Soldiers on USO-Sponsored Morale Tour in Kuwait
NHRA Pro Stock Champions Warren Johnson and Jason Line visit American Soldiers on USO-Sponsored Morale Tour in Kuwait

NHRA drivers Warren Johnson and Jason Line sign autographs at Ramstein AB in Germany
NHRA drivers Warren Johnson and Jason Line sign autographs at Ramstein AB in Germany
NHRA Pro Stock Champions Warren Johnson and Jason Line were among the group. “I was impressed by the commitment level of the men and women of the Armed Services,” said Warren Johnson. “We visited the wounded and were aware of the high price they paid. They arrived from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan with burns from IED blasts and gunshot wounds, and they all wanted to go back out to be with their buddies in the field no matter how injured they were.”
NHRA Pro Stock Champions Warren Johnson and Jason Line pose with American soldiers in Kuwait
NHRA Pro Stock Champions Warren Johnson and Jason Line pose with American soldiers in Kuwait

American Soldiers take a break to meet and greet NHRA drivers group on USO Tour
American Soldiers take a break to meet and greet NHRA drivers group on USO Tour

Johnson signed hero cards and answered questions about racing. “It was a privilege to be out there,” he said. “I hope to go back again.” Line agreed with Johnson. “It breaks your heart to see some of the injured soldiers but makes you appreciate your freedoms. We’re lucky to have people who are willing and proud to pay the price.”

“The contributions made by K&N were a major factor in the overall success of the trip,” said Wayne Reed, Program Coordinator. “Troops were amazed that the shirts and hats they received were free and they were grateful. They were also appreciative of the time that the NHRA drivers took to visit them. It makes you proud to be an American to be able to lift the spirits of the brave men and women who are thousands of miles away from home.”

The group also traveled to Camp Arifjan, which is about 30 miles from Kuwait City. Camp Arifjan provides permanent support facilities for American forces in Kuwait. Johnson, Line and the other NHRA drivers took part in a meet-and-greet session at the recreation center and talked to more than 300 Army, Marines and Navy soldiers. From there they travelled to Camp Patriot, Kuwait Naval Base.

The U.S. Soldiers 40 miles from the Iraqi border were not forgotten. The NHRA group spent time at Ali Al Salem Air Base, which is also nicknamed “The Rock.” Line is a former soldier and said he can relate to the troops. “I was in the Persian Gulf War and I know what it’s like to be so far from home,” he said. “I was honored to go on this trip and give them a small piece of America.”

By coincidence, Line met with solider Rick Friday in Germany. Friday and Line served together and the two friends had not seen each other in 18 years. “This defines how small the world is,” said Line. “To travel overseas and basically run into someone who I had served with in what seems like eons ago, was one of a number of highlights of a great experience.”

The Army Special Forces Association, Randall Shughart Chapter 64, based in Carlisle, Pennsylvania served as the vanguard for the group’s visit. The 435th Services Squadron at Ramstein Air Base hosted the group during the stay.

This was the fourth annual USO-Sponsored trip and Reed said it was an unparalleled success. The group plans to be back.

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