Dan’s USO Tour, aka “Operation Swashbuckle”

Introduction

In March, 2005, Dan (and three of his friends) completed a twenty five day, six country tour of the Middle East to entertain and uplift thousands of brave men and women of our U.S. Military. Here you can experience this adventure for yourself by reading Dan’s first-hand accounts, seeing photos of the experience, and much more.

To navigate this site, you can click the individual journal entries one at a time, or read them in sequence using the “previous” and “next” links withing each entry. Also be sure to check out the additional links for more information.

Dan’s Trip Journal

During the expedition, Dan was able to maintain a day by day account of the experience, incorporating photos and stories in order to provide insights unavailable anywhere else. Enjoy!

Click the date or country to read the desired journal entry and photos.

March 8, Kyrgyzstan

March 10, Uzbekistan

March 11, Afghanistan

March 12, Afghanistan

March 14, Afghanistan

March 15, Afghanistan

March 16, Qatar

March 17, Qatar
March 18, Qatar

March 19, Kuwait

March 21, Kuwait

March 22, Kuwait

March 23, Kuwait

March 25, Iraq

March 27, Iraq

March 28, Iraq

March 29, Iraq

March 31, Home

Dan throws a backflip on one of Sadam’s personal aircraft.

Click to enlarge photo

Click to see this video

Additional Stories

Rays of Hope (From Dan’s Action Mail Newsletter)

That’s Why (From Dan’s Action Mail Newsletter)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is “Operations Swashbuckle?”

A. It is a comedic expeditionary force founded by Spencer Humm and John Davis, creaters of “Hack and Slash,” a sword fighting, side splitting, entertainment phenomenon. The troupe this time consisted of Spencer, John, Todd Key (a terrific juggler/comedian), and me. The mission is threefold:

1. To raise the spirits and bring laughter to U.S. Servicemen and Servicewomen where they need it most.

2. To retell the stories of what is happening with our military once we return to stateside audiences.

3. To bring goodwill to the local citizens in the countries we visit and represent our country in a positive way.

About the Operation Swashbuckle documentary movie

Q. How did you get to go on this trip?

I first met John, Spence, Todd at Renaissance Festivals more than fifteen years ago. We’ve been good friends ever since and share a genuine respect for each other, both personally and professionally. When I heard about the great work they were doing overseas, I asked to be included in a future proposal. When this opportunity came up, I just had to say “yes,” even though it was challenging to my speaking schedule and family commitments. It fit with my current philosophy of living Off Balance On Purpose.

Q. What did your wife and kids think about you leaving for 25 days and going to a “war zone?”

My wife, Sheilia, was nervous, of course, but very supportive. We talked about it with everyone involved, including my children, Eddie (6) and Maggie (then 2). It was definitely a family decision. To offset the distance, we kept in regular contact with phone calls and these journal entries and photos. This meant a lot to us as a means of sharing the experience. Eddie even got a buzz cut like Dad just to be part of the team!

Q. How is the morale “over there?”

Morale is excellent. Our troops are extremely focused on their jobs and are very proud of what they do every day. When meeting a soldier, airman, or marine, we only had to ask what they do and would get a detailed explaination, and often a demonstration. It was quite the education. The efforts to maintain morale are comprehensive, as it is a primary focus of military leadership. MWR (Morale, welfare, and recreation) is the department we interacted with most at the bases we visited, as we were a part of the morale effort. This department encompases everything from ping pong tables, movies, and organized sports to email/phone centers (for family contact), bingo nights, and live music. Even the food provided (which is excellent in most cases) is considered part of the morale initiative. I can tell you without any question, we are taking good care of our troops, and they are determined, focused, and fit.

Contact Dan to create a program customized for your organization. Email Dan or call 770.982.2664.

About Dan Thurmon

Dan Thurmon isn’t just a world-renowned Hall of Fame keynote speaker. He’s also an author, workplace performance expert, juggler, acrobat, unicyclist (even on mountains – yes, really), drummer, and is (in his late forties) learning flying trapeze!

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