DoD

August 15, 2014

DoD: Journalist recalls travels with Robin Williams

Jim Garamone,
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — U.S. service members truly lost a friend with the death of Robin Williams Monday.

Williams made multiple USO tours to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Bahrain, Kuwait and other bases in Southwest Asia to give Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and DoD Civilians a little taste of home.

It was my privilege to accompany him on many of those tours, and I can attest that he truly loved doing what he was doing and the people he was doing it for.

There really was no difference between Robin on stage and Robin behind the scenes.

On the first trip with Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the plane stopped at Shannon Airport, Ireland, to refuel. He got off the plane into the midst of about 150 National Guardsmen going home. Robin shook every hand, posed for every picture and ensured the Guardsmen knew he appreciated their sacrifices.

That was Robin.

At the end of every performance — be it a combat outpost or a forward operating base — Robin was always the last entertainer to leave. In Iraq, a group of Marines came in from patrol and missed his show. He made it a point to meet with them and give them 20-minutes of fun, even as the chopper’s blades were turning to go to the next show.

In Afghanistan, the “clamshell” at Bagram Air Field was a favorite venue for him, and he performed there many times. In 2010, he started the show with “I love what you’ve done with the place.”

He was not a prima donna. One time a sandstorm grounded the party at an outpost near Baghdad. Robin along with everyone else crammed into a small “tin can” to spend the night. The next day his jokes about snoring and gaseous emissions pretty much convulsed everyone.

There was a serious side. He knew what was happening in the areas he traveled. He understood what the men and women he was entertaining did for America each day.

He discussed events in the region with knowledge, but used humor — even then — to make his point. Once aboard a C-17, he described the dangers of the terrorist safe havens in Pakistan to New York Times correspondent Thom Shanker and in a way that can’t be repeated here, but was right on the money. He also visited enough wounded service members in clinics and hospitals to understand the cost.

One show in 2007 sticks in my mind. He was in the middle of a performance at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait when “To the Colors” and “Retreat” sounded. As one, the audience stood up and turned around to render honors as the flag came down. Robin had no idea what was happening. Members of the audience told him what was happening once it was over.

I asked him after the show what he thought. “Sort of reminds you why we’re here, doesn’t it,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Cyber-Security-Scout-Article-06OCT2014

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

U.S. Army graphic by Lawrence Boyd “You Are the First Line of Defense.” That is the message those who are responsible for the defense of the Army’s networks wants to get out to the rest of the Army during National Cyber S...
 
 

Depression awareness showcased during month of October

Stand To! In observance of October as National Depression Awareness Month, the U.S. Army will join several organizations across America to inform the public about the signs and symptoms of depression. The public will learn the importance of seeking treatment and will be provided information about the availability of free online anonymous behavioral health screenings....
 
 

Robin Williams — could someone have helped?

I haven’t been able to talk about it until now, but I was really angry that Robin Williams committed suicide. I have been a fan of Williams since the Mork and Mindy days and always admired how much he had going for him. I knew he had problems, but somehow never considered that suicide could...
 

 
DoD

DOD recognizes commitment to prevent sexual assault

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department Wednesday honored exceptional groups and individuals from each military component who contributed an innovative idea or approach to positively impact sexual assault prevention and response programs. The Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award recognizes Service members and DOD Civilians whose work in support of service members has been particularly notew...
 
 

Trick-or-treat hours set for Fort Huachuca Oct. 31

Fort Huachuca Halloween trick-or-treating will take place Oct. 31 from 6 – 8 p.m. for children under 14. Children 9 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Standard access requirements for the installation remain in effect. This includes the requirement that everyone 16 and over entering the installation provide a valid picture identification and...
 
 

VA processes more than 1.3 million veterans’ claims in FY14

WASHINGTON — More than 1.3 million veterans received decisions on their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation and pension claims in fiscal year 2014 — the highest number in VA’s history, surpassing last year’s record-breaking production by more than 150,000 claims. This second year of record-breaking production comes as VA continues to transform the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin