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‘American Idol’ winner David Cook begins Air Force installations tour

David Cook performs May 14 at Wings of Freedom Park at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. Cook visited Altus as part of his concert tour to raise the morale of the men and women who serve here. (Courtesy Photo)

David Cook performs May 14 at Wings of Freedom Park at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. Cook visited Altus as part of his concert tour to raise the morale of the men and women who serve here. (Courtesy Photo)

There’s an important reason why 2008 “American Idol” winner David Cook performs concerts for U.S. military personnel.

“To get a chance to say thank you, in person, for their service and sacrifice is huge,” said Cook, who is performing at 16 U.S. Air Force installations as part of the Air Force Services Activity’s entertainment program. “I think so often there’s an out-of-sight, out-of-mind aspect for the average citizen to the service and sacrifice they make. To be able to come out and perform and hopefully help them realize how appreciative I am and my band is, it’s an honor.”

The Nashville, Tennessee-based singer/songwriter says he’s looking forward to boosting the morale and lifting Airmen’s spirits on the tour. The first concert was May 12 at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and the tour ends Sept. 25 at Columbus AFB, Mississippi.

The free concerts are for Airmen and their families and will be held at on-base outdoor venues.

Cook, who has a cousin in the U.S. Air Force, has performed for U.S. military personnel in Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, the Persian Gulf and across Europe.

Cook’s name recognition and crossover musical appeal made him a popular choice for the program, said Jeri White, production director for Air Force Entertainment.

The original plan was for Cook to play eight installations; however, due to the demand from other installations, the tour was expanded to 16 locations.

Cook was working as a bartender and fronting his own band before he won his season of “American Idol” eight years ago. He moved to Nashville in 2012, where he had immediate success co-writing country music songs.

But country music isn’t Cook’s sole focus.

“We’re a pop-rock group,” Cook said. “We try to play a different show every time, and we try for a unique show. We hope it’s a break for the Airmen.

“I hope that the vibe put out there into that space is absorbed. We very much appreciate the things that they do, and hopefully, making noise for them a little bit will help get that message across. I hope all the service members at the bases we’re playing come out and have a great time,” he said.

Cook’s upcoming Air Force tour dates include:

Sept. 9, Lackland AFB (San Antonio)
Sept. 11, Holloman AFB (Alamogordo, New Mexico)
Sept. 14, Cannon AFB (Clovis, New Mexico)
Sept. 16, Schreiver AFB (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Sept. 18, Offutt AFB (Omaha, Nebraska)
Sept. 21, Grand Forks AFB (Grand Forks, North Dakota)
Sept. 23, Whiteman AFB (Knob Noster, Missouri)
Sept. 25, Columbus AFB (Columbus, Mississippi)