Former Tennessee head football coach Philip Fulmer, accompanied by former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, will begin a USO (United Service Organizations) tour of the Middle East this week. The pair is participating in the USO Celebrity Entertainment Program, continuing a long-standing tradition of entertaining and visiting with U.S. troops, bringing them “a touch of home” during their deployment.

The USO was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 with the objective of providing emotional support to troops stationed abroad. The USO has evolved over time, developing and implementing additional programs and services designed to meet the ever-changing needs of troops and their families while holding fast to the original mission. Today, the USO continues to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families and will continue to be there for them until they all return home.

The trip for Fulmer and Slocum will begin Wednesday, April 9 and conclude on Thursday, April 17.

“I am really pleased to be going to the Middle East to see our troops,” said Fulmer. “If Coach Slocum and I can give our brave men and women a little by talking football, a special thank you from home, or a `Go Vols’ or `Gig `em Aggies,’ I am up for it.

“We are grateful and excited to have the chance to represent not only our respective schools, but also the SEC and all of college football. The USO has been an amazing organization for the entertainment and morale of the troops for a long time. I am truly honored to be asked to go and support and spend time with those who serve our country so well. Freedom is not free, and our freedoms are defended by the best soldiers in the world. I am honored to serve our troops in any way I can.”