PHOTOS: Kevin Costner Looks Back on Performance for USO Troops and Families in Memorial Day Tribute

by TK Sanders

Hollywood icon and Yellowstone actor Kevin Costner shared a photo of himself and his band Modern West performing at a military base for Memorial Day. In the photo caption, Costner calls the experience of playing for troops “one of the most special experiences” of his life.

“I speak for the band when I say that our show for USO troops and their families at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr was one of the most special experiences we’ve shared. May we all take time to honor those who have fallen to protect our country on this Memorial Day,” the post read.

Costner and his six-piece band performed the free USO/Armed Forces Entertainment concert for troops and their families at the German base back in 2010. Prior to the concert, Costner signed autographs for troops and their families at the USO center in Grafenwoehr. The band, which formed in 2005, was touring all throughout Europe the year they stopped in for the military show. It was also their first time performing a USO show at the time.

Costner said forming the band was a chance for him to live without regrets and enjoy music. His heavy acting schedule precluded him from playing music seriously early on, so forming Modern West in his later years became a cathartic experience for the Hollywood legend.

“You know, you dream about maybe doing those things and think you can, and you just don’t want to end up in your life saying, ‘I could have done that,’” Costner said in an interview. “There comes a time where you kind of have to sit down and bore into it.”

The 2010 Kevin Costner and Modern West concert appearance at Grafenwoehr helped celebrate the base’s 100 year anniversary ahead of Memorial Day

Costner had this to say about the performance 12 years ago.

“It was an honor for us to participate in this USO concert.  We’ve toured around the world but there is something very special about being onstage in front of our U.S. armed forces and their families.”

According to the U.S. Army website, “the area was originally established to support the Royal Bavarian Army’s 3rd Corps. It has served as a training ground for German soldiers in two world wars; as well as a strategic American training post on the frontier of the Cold War. Most recently, it also served as the centerpiece of multinational training and cooperation in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It is now home to more than 25,000 Soldiers, Family members and civilians.”

Today, Grafenwoehr is a fully integrated, 90-square-mile base and training compound. Its sheer size makes it the largest overseas training facility in the entire Army.

The Grafenwoehr military community also houses the U.S. Army Europe’s Combined Arms Training Center and its NCO Academy. The Joint Multinational Simulation Center and the Training Support Activity Europe also both operate out of the facility. Furthermore, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment and the majority of the 172nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (nearly half of the Army’s combat strength in Europe) reside at Grafenwoehr.