Kellie Pickler in Afghanistan
Courtesy Kellie Pickler
12/27/2013 at 02:10 PM EST
Wearing camouflage leggings and rhinestone boots, Kellie Pickler
was thousands of miles away from home on Christmas Day, but she smiled as she looked out at her audience from her makeshift stage.
The country singer was in Kandahar, Afghanistan, with her husband
, Kyle Jacobs, on her seventh USO tour. "There's no place I'd rather spend Christmas," she reportedly told the troops.
The former American Idol
contestant, who has been working with the USO since 2007, and was on a nine-day tour in the Middle East and has been sharing pics of her experience on Twitter.
She posed for photos
with troops, visited wounded soldiers, flew in a Chinook helicopter
and even fired a howitzer, the Washington Post
"The USO tours and programs I've been part of have definitely been the highlight of my career," Pickler, 27, said in a statement. "So I'm honored to join the USO in helping to raise awareness about the many precious moments that our troops and their families sacrifice due to their commitment and service to our country."
Pickler's tour is part of the USO's Every Moment Counts
campaign, which encourages people to send their thanks to the troops, donate or get involved by volunteering at a special event or hero's homecoming.