Kellie Pickler went patriotic for Maxim magazine's latest cover and photos spread in its annual Salute to the Military issue.

I come from a military family, 26-year-old Pickler told Maxim. My grandfather is a retired Marine, and I've always had a great deal of respect for anyone who serves our country. It really does take someone special to sacrifice everything. I don't mean just their lives, either. There are men who are sacrificing the chance to hold their newborn baby!

Pickler, a former American Idol finalist and buxom blonde, wore an army green balconette bra with matching high-waisted shorts and a jacket slung over her left shoulder, embellished with military-esque buttons and pockets. The singer wore simple, dewy makeup and shined in a diamond-embellished statement necklace with matching earrings.

And Pickler is not just patriotic but a loyal supporter and volunteer for the troops; She in fact just completed her fifth USO tour overseas this May for the troops which encompasses much more than performing. Pickler said in addition to a concert, she enjoys meeting and exchanging stories with soldiers.

My whole band and I stayed up one night until 3 a.m., picking with the soldiers who played guitar, Pickler told Maxim.

The North Carolina native said that on some of her ventures to the Middle East, her stays were less than desirable, but didn't stop her from supporting the troops.

You really forget about your surroundings, she said. When I look back at pictures, I'm like, 'Wow. That was a bit of a dump.' When we went to Iraq, we stayed in one of Saddam's palaces. It was kind of creepy. It's nicer than a tent, but in some ways a tent might be better, you know?

Pickler said she also learned first-hand what it was like to be a soldier in combat when she learned how to use artillery in the Middle East.

We shot everything: M16s, .50- caliber grenade launchers, Pickler said. I shot all the guns on the Black Hawks. Hundreds of bullets come out at a time. It's crazy.

Maxim's Salute to the Military issue hits newsstands on July 31, but you can view photos of Kellie Pickler and her Maxim cover in the slideshow.