By Grin and Barrett Successfully celebrating special occasions while forward deployed (Iraq...
Meet Ayla Brown
Outback Steakhouse has good taste. When country superstar Tim McGraw pulled out of their Afghanistan tour, Armed Forces Entertainment gave Outback three replacement acts to choose from. They Chose Ayla Brown. Even if you’re a fanatic of American Idol (like Nick and Tommy), you’re probably saying, “Ayla who?”
Ayla Brown is an awesome singer who was shafted on American Idol Season 5. But instead of go away whimpering, she vowed to shove a hot poker up Simon Cowell’s ass and prove him wrong by reinventing herself as a successful recording artist. Four years later, she’s released 3 albums and left Randy Jackson in a lake of regretful tears for not signing her.
Being the daughter of a US Senator, Ayla bleeds patriot red, white, and blue. After becoming successful, she never forgot what’s important and volunteered for Armed Forces Entertainment so she could head into the sandbox and entertain our troops. Last November, Ayla visited Camps Leatherneck, Dwyer, and Dellarom in Afghanistan to perform concerts for the Marines there (No Army camps? WTF?). Ranger Up respects that, so when we got wind of it, we sent a bunch of shirts along for her to give away.
Troops can see right through an entertainer who comes to a combat zone just to get a photo op. They’re not like the Toby Keith’s and Gary Sinise’s who volunteer to go downrange more times than most soldiers do. The photo op types are the ones who are too scared to leave the safety of the wire and are forced to be there by their parent company so they can say they support the troops. They’re fake.
But not Ayla. She thrived in the sands of lower Asia and the smell of spent gunpowder. “It was one of those experiences that changed me,” she says. “The guys there appreciate everything. The little things mean so much to them because they live with the bare essentials. It makes me appreciate what I have and when I came home I got rid of things that I felt were unnecessary.” Like her Paula Abdul action figurine. It’s just unnecessary.
Ayla’s our kind of gal. Here are a few other reasons why.
She was one of the best female basketball players in Massachusetts high school history. There’s no point to that statement. We just think basketball chicks are hot. Ever see Rebecca Lobo? Google her.
Her father is the first Republican Senator from Massachusetts since like 1800. He won Ted Kennedy’s old seat. Allegedly the first time he sat in it, he sank three feet into its well-worn ass and Congressional staffers brought him beer.
The Marines in Afghanistan let Ayla fire a few weapons and then set off an explosive charge that had a picture of Simon Cowell on it. She detonated it with extreme prejudice, screaming “DIE GAS PUMPER” the whole time. Hot.
She wrote a song called Unapologetically American on the plane ride home from Afghanistan, which was inspired by our apparel. That’s kick ass.
She likes purple, which is the color of Joint operations. So did Catherine the Great…and she tamed the Russians.
When we asked her if she would go back to Afghanistan, she said “Hells yeah! Send me!”