City Vista Assistant Fitness Manager Christa Aiken Visits the Middle East!
If you know Christa Aiken, you know she always has a smile on her face, loves waking up early to get her cardio dance on and maybe even that she cheers for the Washington Redskins during football season!
What might surprise you is that Christa recently returned from a two week trip to Southwest Asia with four other Redskins cheerleaders where they stayed on military bases in Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Afghanistan. As part of the 49th Armed Forces Tour, sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment, Christa and her fellow teammates visited deployed U.S. soldiers overseas to build morale on base and give the soldiers a taste of home while serving their country.
She shared with me some highlights from the tour (some fun, and some pretty scary) and explains that doing it was one of the best decisions she ever made.
“I was very eager to do it and was so happy I got selected. Seeing firsthand what our soldiers are sacrificing for us and the daily freedoms they give up to keep the rest of us safe made me so appreciative of everything back home,” she says.
During their time overseas, Christa and her fellow cheerleaders would sleep in dorm rooms or tents on base, eat meals with the soldiers and perform routines on base to lift everyone’s spirits.
“We were there for the Super Bowl, but it was on at 2 a.m. Afghanistan time, so that’s when we performed. We stayed up all night watching the game and just hanging out with the soldiers, it was so much fun!” says Christa.
During their stay the girls formed lasting friendships with the soldiers and allowed them to have much-needed downtime where they could relax, unwind and forget for a few minutes about the demanding lifestyle they lead while on duty. However, it wasn’t all fun and games for the girls on the tour. Christa explains that they saw firsthand the dangers our troops endure being in the midst of a war on terrorism.
“When we were driving to the airport our driver looked over and told us that the car next to us was a Taliban vehicle. We also had an IED fly into our base one night, but luckily it didn’t detonate,” she says.
Despite the handful of scary experiences Christa went through, she says she would go on the tour again in a heartbeat.
“It changed the way I feel about everything. These guys are away from their families but still happy to be there serving their country. It was very inspiring and I learned so much,” she says.
Now that she’s back on DC soil, Christa is grateful for her experience but equally happy to be home with her VIDA family. If you run into her at City Vista ask her about her trip! We’re happy to have her back safe and sound!