Richie Sambora with Voyage-Air Guitar recipients Brian Mullen, Wendell Tabios, David Vizcaino, Tacy Watson, Marcy Sanchez, Logan WatsonSambora surprises troops…

On Friday, August 19, 2011, Richie Sambora, master guitar-slinger of Bon Jovi, hosted a special event at Camp Pendleton Marine Base near San Diego, CA.  The reason?  Richie recently purchased 100 Voyage Air folding travel guitars as his way of saying “thank you” to our USA fighting forces, and wanted to personally present the first seven of those to our troops.

Sambora lit up Camp Pendleton on Friday as he performed some of his classic material in front of an audience of Marine fans.

“A humble ‘thank you’… something I can do for the gratitude I have for these guys,” said Sambora.

Grateful Marines chimed in: Sgt. David Vizcaino said: “[It] just boosted morale here. [Sambora] came on his own free will. Nobody does that around here.”

Several thousand Marines entered a contest a few months ago to win Voyage Air guitars customized by Sambora, who paid for them with his own cash. Why? So he could put a smile on the faces of those who fight for freedom.

These Voyage Air guitars are full-size guitars that fold in half and fit in a special backpack, which makes it easy for Marines to take them when deployed: anywhere in the world.

“For him to come out and give us a guitar…That’s amazing,” said Sgt. Brian Mullen. “I mean, to do something so small… maybe to him… is something so big to us.”

“Just to come out here and see what they’re doing for the marines … and then for Richie to give up his time is just amazing,” added Mullen.

Photos courtesy of August 18, 2011 – Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images North America