Once a year since 2011, Operation Appreciation has brought a taste of home to American troops stationed overseas. Sponsored by Summit Racing and Armed Forces Entertainment, Operation Appreciation sends some of motorsports’ best drivers to talk racing and cars with our servicemen and women.
This year, Operation Appreciation returns to Kuwait to visit the troops during the last week of November. After a full racing season, Summit Racing NHRA Pro Stock drivers Greg Anderson and Jason Line; Summit Racing/BIGFOOT monster truck racers Dan Runte and Larry Swim; and Harley-Davidson® NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racers Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec look forward to the trip and the chance to visit our troops.
There is a special guest on this year’s trip—the Summit Racing BIGFOOT monster truck wearing a special Operation Appreciation camo wrap. It may not have the firepower of an MRAP or an Apache attack helicopter, but BIGFOOT is really good at crushing stuff, as Dan Runte and Larry Swim will demonstrate during two exhibition shows.
2016 NHRA Pro Stock Champion Jason Line found out just how much the troops appreciate Operation Appreciation when a soldier visited the KB Racing pits at the Toyota NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas.
“A soldier that I met in Kuwait stopped by the pits to say hi and thank us for coming over,” Line explained. “He said he was having the worst day ever, and when we came to visit it was like having a vacation. That’s why we do Operation Appreciation and what makes it worthwhile.”
Team Harley-Davidson’s Eddie Kraweic finds a parallel between drag racing and the military.
When you get out there and you realize the extent of the operations, it’s looks a lot like a running a race team. It’s like a bond of sorts,” Kraweic said. “To see the look on their faces as they are telling you what they do is amazing. They think we’re heroes, but really they are the heroes.
BIGFOOT’s Larry Swim will be experiencing Operation Appreciation for the first time, but he’s heard plenty of stories from fellow driver Dan Runte.
“Dan always comes back from these trips talking about how terrific our military men and women are and their can-do spirit even in the middle of the desert,” Swim said. “These are the kind of people that I can relate to, and I am really happy that I get to experience that first-hand, and to put on a great show for the troops.”