Operation Thriller III

img_0164smIn 2012, ITW members Kathleen Antrim, Brad Meltzer, Andy Harp, Michael Connelly, and Joseph Finder traveled across the Middle East as members of the third installment of the ITW-USO tour in a hectic 10-day schedule that covered multiple bases and lots of ground in four countries.

Members of the tours try their best to touch as many lives as they can. This year, as a token of appreciation, the ITW gave a challenge coin to the troops. The coin, known well in the military, signifies a gift from a command. Here, the command is the tour group Operation Thriller III and the coin reflects the logo of the ITW.

Behind-the-scenes work goes on for months before the tour begins. Representatives with the USO, Armed Forces Entertainment, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program (called the MWR), the ITW, 5.11 Tactical, and security forces on the ground, all work together to coordinate schedules, transportation, meals, lodging and a host of other details to get five writers to as many troops as possible in the time allowed.

You can read more about the tour in Andy Harp’s official report at The Big Thrill, and Michael Connelly’s essay “What it means to be a hero” on the CNN website.