San Diego ( — A member of the United States Navy took the stage with some of country music’s biggest names in a tribute to the armed forces on Tuesday.

The ‘Salute to the Troops’ television special, which aired on CBS on Tuesday night, featured well known country music stars, such as George Strait, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Luke Bryan.

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Among those on stage was U.S. Navy Sonar Technician Destiny Mills-Coates.

Petty Officer Third Class Mills-Coates sidelined her dream of becoming a country music singer and joined the U.S. Navy.

The music, however, never truly left her mind or her heart.

“For me, I was going ‘Finally I get to do this’,” Mills-Coates said. “I’ve dreamed about it for twenty seven years.”

Mills-Coates was selected in January to perform alongside country music star Keith Urban on stage, at which point she flew to Las Vegas to meet with Urban himself.

“He walks into the room, and I go from feeling inadequate to go ‘Wow, he’s really short’,” Mills-Coates recalled.

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Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum were among the other names that performed alongside service men and women for the television special.

Mills-Coates says she was particularly starstruck when she had the opportunity to meet country legend Faith Hill.

“She turns around, and I just go ‘Oh my God you’re Faith Hill!’, and just completely lost it right there, and I was like ‘oh’,” Mills-Coates admitted.

Meanwhile, while Destiny tookpart in a salute to her fellow service members, she may also consider it a tribute to her late mother, who always supported her daughter’s passion for music.

“She forever said ‘You know what, you’re going to get up there. We’re going to see you on that stage’,” Mills-Coates said. “So, she still gets to see me, because I know she’s watching me.”


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