updated 03/12/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/12/2012 AT 7:00 PM ET
Kellie Pickler got married on a beautiful Caribbean island, but she honeymooned in a far less glamorous spot.
Following her Jan. 1, 2011, nuptials with Kyle Jacobs, the country singer, 25, spent a couple of luxurious nights relaxing as a newlywed – then she and her new hubby hopped on a plane to Iraq.
“That was part of my honeymoon,” Pickler, who performs for troops as part of the USO, tells Parade magazine. “It was so romantic! No, it was just that I had already committed to going over there and I wasn’t going to cancel because that wouldn’t have been right.”
Despite the location, the singer says her husband “loved it.”
“It was such a great experience for him to be a part of,” says Pickler. “It’s not every day that you get to be a part of something so big and so special.”
Pickler, a long-time supporter of the troops, says being a part of the USO is what she is “most proud of.”
“What they’re doing for our military is so great,” she adds. “I’ve loved taking a little piece of home to our troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.”