In 2004, Master Sgt. Jerry Speraw was a military police officer stationed at the Kuwait City International Airport, where all planes that landed in Iraq had to stop before they proceeded.
While stationed there, Speraw met all kinds of people, including celebrities, who came through for the United Service Organization tour. Speraw remembered meeting people like John Elway, Robin Williams and Wayne Newton while he was there, but one visit from Darryl Worley and Mark Wills stood out to him.
“They were sitting in our holding area, and someone said, ‘Hey, there’s country singers here,’” said Speraw. “So, I went in there to see who it was, and we ended up talking for about an hour.”
While the two were there, Speraw got a picture standing between them with his M-16 rifle.
When Worley and Wills came back through Kuwait on their way home, Speraw said they talked some more, and he even gave his tactical vest to Wills.
“It was pretty cool, because we were just talking about hunting and stuff,” said Speraw.
Through the years, Speraw said he kept in touch with the two via Facebook. He retired from the military in 2015 after 21 years of service. He had planned to go see Wills at an event in Las Vegas, where he currently lives, this summer, but didn’t know he’d attend the CMA Fest in Nashville where Worley, who lives in Mt. Juliet, would perform.
“My girlfriend surprised me and got us tickets for my 45th birthday to go to Nashville for the CMAs,” said Speraw. “So, as we’re looking through all the event staff and everything as far as who’s playing where, I saw Darryl Worley, and I was like, ‘Oh, I really want to see Darryl Worley that day.’”
The two went to the performance, and afterward an event photographer was walking around talking to the attendees. Speraw pulled up the picture from 2004, which was still on his phone.
“I said, ‘Hey, can you go ask him if I can get an update picture, because this one is kind of old,’” said Speraw. “So, he went over and talked to Darryl for a minute, and then Darryl came over and shook my hand, and we talked for a couple minutes and everything, and he took another picture with me and my girlfriend, so it was pretty cool.”
When Speraw showed Worley the picture from 2004, Worley said he remembered when it was taken in Kuwait.
“Him and Mark Wills were both down-to-earth people,” said Speraw. “It was just a cool experience.”