Janet Jackson performs on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival on 29th June 2019 (Picture: Female Perspective/Alamy Live News).
Janet Jackson performs on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival on 29th June 2019 (Picture: Female Perspective/Alamy Live News).
Music

Janet Jackson: Did you know the music icon once performed for the troops?

Janet performed Rhythm Nation to American troops and their families at Camp Pendleton in 2008

Janet Jackson performs on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival on 29th June 2019 (Picture: Female Perspective/Alamy Live News).
Janet Jackson performs on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival on 29th June 2019 (Picture: Female Perspective/Alamy Live News).

Janet Jackson is a music industry icon, actress, mother and famously the youngest sibling in The Jackson family but did you know that she can also add performing to the troops and their families to her list of accomplishments?

Immediately identifiable by her first name, Janet - whose four-part documentary series 'Janet Jackson' has just been released on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV in the UK - is a Grammy award winner five times over, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, one of the highest-earning artists in music history and according to The Recording Industry Association of America, eight of her albums have gone platinum several times over.

She can also add forces entertainer to her many achievements after she performed her platinum hit song Rhythm Nation and fan favourite Luv to thousands of screaming serving personnel and their families on stage at Del Mar Beach in 2008 at Camp Pendleton, California - the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps. 

Video: Janet Jackson performs Rhythm Nation at America United: In Support of Our Troops in 2008.

To celebrate 40 years since the release of the popstar's first album, the All For You singer is releasing 'Janet Jackson', a four-part documentary which will lift the curtain on her usually very private life. 

It is unusual to see Janet talk so openly about her life, in particular the especially private parts of it which include the death of her brother Michael Jackson and life as a mother to her five-year-old son Eissa. 

One thing that has not received much attention over the years is when she performed at 'America United: In Support of Our Troops' which aired on ABC in America on 7 September 2008. 

Video: Janet Jackson performs Luv at America United: In Support of Our Troops in 2008.

The special multi-location event, which was filmed in front of screaming audiences in Iraq, Camp Pendleton in California and Fort Campbell in Kentucky, featured tributes to troops, celebrity cameos and performances from Jessica Simpson, ZZ Top, Snoop Dog and of course, Janet Jackson.

The two-hour special was designed to raise awareness and be a call to action to encourage civilians to appreciate the sacrifices service personnel and their families make. 

Just before Janet performed for the troops and their families at Camp Pendleton, she spoke about what it meant to her to be there, saying: "It's my way of saying thank you - all of the musicians, all the entertainers that are here tonight - we really love and appreciate what they've done. 

"And for the families and troops to come out, to be able to support them as they support us and just to say thank you." 

"And for the families and troops to come out, to be able to support them as they support us and just to say thank you." 

Military personnel serving overseas and on ships at sea were able to watch the show through the American Forces Radio and Television Service. 

It was sponsored by the United Services Automobile Association, a financial company set up in 1922 when 25 US Army officers agreed to insure each other's cars. USAA employs military veterans and has a direct connection to those in uniform. 

Joe Robles, former USAA President and CEO, said of the event in a press release at the time: "America United in Support of Our Troops - is all about standing together as a nation to say a very heartfelt 'thank you' to the men and women of the U.S. military. 

"USAA has proudly served our nation's military families for 86 years, and it is our honor to sponsor this tribute. We hope Americans will tune in this Sunday, support our troops and enjoy this terrific show." 

Which other celebrities have performed for the troops? 

It's not just American troops that get special treatment. 

The dedicated BFBS Live Events team have organised star-studded entertainment for British troops wherever they are - on operations at the front line, in personnel recovery centres, at The Royal Hospital Chelsea and so on. 

The families left behind when their loved ones are deployed also get treated to the same level of care and consideration. 

BFBS Live Events have kept up the spirits of personnel and the military family since 1946. 

Some of the most popular events they have arranged include football legend David Beckham visiting Afghanistan, a stand-up gig by comedian Jason Manford, a crowd-pleasing concert by former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and a dazzling performance by the only magician to win Britain's Got Talent, LCpl Richard Jones. 

Of his whirlwind tour to Afghanistan in May 2010, David Beckham said: "It really has been an inspiring visit."

David Beckham Afghanistan Troops Football Credit BFBS Live Events
David Beckham meets soldiers in Afghanistan in May 2010 thanks to BFBS Live Events (Picture: BFBS Live Events).

Angie Avlianos, BFBS Live Events Manager, speaking of David Beckham's trip to Afghanistan, said it was fascinating to see someone so famous sitting alongside serving personnel.

In an interview with BFBS the Forces Station broadcaster Hal Stewart, Angie said: "It was extraordinary to see somebody like him sitting in a cookhouse, eating Angel Delight surrounded by people that just wanted a moment to be able to walk away and say 'I’ve just met David Beckham'.  

"I think he shook hands with about 10,000 people in three days." 

Entertaining the troops like this is not a new idea. Keeping up the morale of armed forces personnel has been a high priority since the start of the Second World War.  

The Entertainments National Service Association, or ENSA as it was more commonly known, was founded in September 1939 by writer and actor Basil Dean and silent movie star and comedian Leslie Henson.

Together, they organised thousands of shows across the Second World War from Iceland to Rangoon. 

Dame Vera Lynn rehearsing at a microphone 300756 CREDIT PA
Dame Vera Lynn rehearsing at a microphone (Picture: PA Images).

Dame Vera Lynn, the iconic Second World War forces sweetheart and singer, was much loved by armed forces personnel for her dedication to performing her iconic songs We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover for troops in places like the Middle East, India and Burma, now known as Myanmar. 

She spent the rest of her life dedicated to supporting veterans from the Burma Campaign which saw her receiving the Burma Star for her efforts. 

She also had her own BBC radio show, Sincerely Yours, which linked serving personnel in Europe with their loved ones back home.

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