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.


 
 

 
Video captures by Thom Williams

2-13th Avn. Regiment dedicates building to memory of UAS warrant officer

Video captures by Thom Williams Members of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli’s family and other guests watch as Army officials unveil the plaque on Balli Hall during Tuesday’s memorialization ceremony. The building was n...
 
 
Robert Shields

Fort Hood shooting victim seeks to inspire others

Robert Shields Army 1st Lt. John Arroyo works on strengthening his right hand while his occupational therapist, Katie Korp, looks on at the Center for the Intrepid in Brooke Army Medical Center’s rehabilitation center at Join...
 
 
Maci Hidalgo

New home opens for predator drones at Libby Airfield

Maci Hidalgo Brig. Gen. Edward Maxwell speaks to the attendees during the 214th Reconnaissance Group, 162d Wing, Air National Guard ribbon cutting ceremony at Libby Air Field on Fort Huachuca. Maxwell said the new facility will...
 

 

TRICARE patients must attest to health care coverage

WASHINGTON — As tax season begins, Defense Department officials want to remind TRICARE beneficiaries of changes in the tax laws, which require all Americans to have health care insurance or potentially pay a tax penalty. For the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, all U.S. citizens, including Service members, military retirees...
 
 

Civilian of the Month

Steven Hall Agency: CECOM Logistics and Readiness Center, Communications Security Logistics Activity Position and duties: Facilities manager, and team lead for mailroom, property and supplies How long at current assignment: Since July 2007 How long in government service: 35 years, including 10 years in the military Residence: Sierra Vista Family: “Wife Debbie who resides with...
 
 

Pay off holiday debt in sensible manner

Some people spent too much on holiday gift giving, travel and entertaining, and now the credit card bills are coming due. Many are shocked to realize just how much they’ve spent. Paying for holiday expenses well into the new year doesn’t create the kind of holiday memories anyone wants. When a family’s income is stretched...
 




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