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Travels with Teddy: A beloved bear has circled the world with a proud U.S. Marine and a sultry American Bombshell. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 07:53
The American Bombshells love to perform and entertain wounded and disabled veterans. Tireless and committed, the girls have circled the globe.
Ali Kat Bertash (center) and two of her American Bombshell peers strike a cheerful patriotic pose.
“Bear” needs a passport of his own. He has logged incalculable miles as the travel companion of entertainer Ali Kat and her U.S. Marine husband, Charlie.
Ali Kat has performed with the American Bombshells from coast to coast. Here, they are belting out a number in Las Vegas.
Times Square was the setting of lots of memorable World War II photos. Here, the American Bombshells snag themselves a sailor.
After participating in a recent Veterans Day Parade, the girls mingled with attendees and hosts.
“Bear” has served his country well: keeping a USO entertainer and a brave Marine company. Ali Kat hopes that he will also be a good friend to her future child.
When these two little bride and groom bears were reunited, the happy couple knew it was time to tie the knot.
The American Bombshells love to perform and entertain wounded and disabled veterans. Tireless and committed, the girls have circled the globe.
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If a singer packages herself as an “American Bombshell,” you just might expect her to be walking the runway in a Victoria’s Secret teddy. For Ali Kat Bertash, there is indeed a teddy. But it has more to do with Teddy Roosevelt and stuffed animals than any piece of gossamer lingerie . . .

During this summer, NBC launched a replacement series that combines the powerhouse vocalization of “American Idol” or “The Voice” with the intuition and money-grab of “Deal or No Deal.” In this melodic game show, “The Winner Is,” contestants perform a full-throated, emote-from-the gut song and then wait to be scored by 101 music “experts.” (I say “experts” because some of the judges seem to be bloggers who reside in their parents’ basement, subsisting on Taco Bell and Big Gulps.)

Each round pits two competitors against one another (though sometimes a competitor might be a group against a solo artist). When the score from the duel is revealed—for instance, 60 to 41, or 20 to 81—the contestants aren’t told who garnered which. So, a person doesn’t know if she was the top vote getter or the bottom one. That’s where the intuition and the confidence come in.

With sadistic glee, the show’s host, Nick Lachey, asks the competitors if they want to take a certain amount of money to walk away or hang in there to strive for a million bucks down the road. It’s a showdown of self-worth against cold, hard cash.

At times, the 101 judges get it exactly right, from my musical perspective. But there are some moments when what they hear in the studio completely disconnects from what I’m seeing and listening to at home. Case in point: the American Bombshells.

A trio of patriotic, modern gals, these three singers put a contemporary, theatrical twist on the Andrews Sisters. They are attractive in a Rita Hayworth pinup/sexy World War II way—hence, the name “Bombshells.” They also can sing the hell out of any song, from rock to romance, ballads to Broadway, country to calypso. These girls have talent.

However, during their appearance on “The Winner Is,” they were the losers in a battle that pitted them against a Frank Sinatra would-be crooner. They were crushed in the voting, and my kids bellowed how the results were “unfair, wrong, insane!” I have to agree.

After being trounced—it still seems impossible—the girls sauntered away with smiles on their faces. Fortunately, though, offers for them to appear elsewhere followed; media specialists came a-calling, and the American Bombshells rose from their seeming disaster. I’m pleased that these girls who travel the world entertaining the troops, wounded warriors, and disabled vets have had a happy ending, but I’m also glad because their founding member, Ali Kat Bertash, is a bona fide bear enthusiast!

Yep, the raven-haired petite member of the group never goes anywhere without a teddy bear that once belonged to her husband in his childhood.

A natural-born entertainer, Ali Kat knows a thing or two about telling a story, and her connection to “Bear” is filled with pathos and heartwarming details. Ali Kat told me that her husband has had that stuffed toy since his infancy. Before they were married and their separations were melancholy and prolonged, her then-fiancé, Charlie, decided to give her his bear buddy. “It is the most special gift I have ever received,” Ali declared.

“Charlie’s bear has gone with him to war in Fallujah, Iraq, and other places during his time in the United States Marine Corps,” she explained. “When he gave me the bear, it was wearing his dog tags. Since I was touring with the USO when we met, I took the bear with me no matter where I went.”

In her journeys, Ali Kat and “Bear” have gone to Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, and countless other states across America. Together, she and her ursine companion have traveled to the United Arab Emirates and to entertain the U.S. Navy in Japan.

“When Charlie got a job offer after his USMC contract ended to work in Afghanistan, I offered to have him keep our bear with him. He said he thought I would need it more,” Ali Kat shared with me. “This job also delayed our wedding, which made me so sad.”

Being a take-charge kind of girl, Ali Kat didn’t let her negative feelings percolate for too long. Instead, she went to a local Long Island business owner and commissioned two brand-new bears: “I was so touched by him wanting me to keep the bear, I had these little bears made that were each dressed like a bride and a groom. Each of them had our faces! I gave him the bride and I kept the groom. I told him when he got home safely, they would reunite and wed.”

Charlie returned home on Christmas Eve, 2012. He and Ali Kat were married this summer, giving her something sensational to sing about! 

“The two new bears were out on display at the wedding,” the Bombshell noted.

And what about “Bear,” her husband’s original pal from long ago? That beloved toy has a place of honor in her home and in her heart: “I realize how special this bear is for taking my and my husband’s journeys. Hopefully, one day in the future when we have a child, that bear will go to him or to her. And it will have a history that few can compare.”

The American Bombshells Entertainment is a 501(c)3 charity. Ali Kat and her fellow troupers raise funds and spirits. They receive suggestions for their song sets from veterans across the world, and they compile care packages for soldiers located and stationed everywhere. The group has a website ( that offers information on how to contribute, see them live, or watch their videos.

Part Betty Grable, part Lana Turner, part girl next door, the members of this touring company are sincere, sweet, and truly patriotic. Though they may look like a Hedy Lamarr vamp, they prove that their hearts are in the right place.

Ali Kat Bertash is a true-blue American original, and her affection for her bear is real and remarkable. Best of luck in all your future endeavors. Your altruism and attitude prove that “The Winner Is” you!