Celebrities, leaders, corporate executives get better appreciation for military during VIP Box Tour
Some of Hollywood’s finest, including actors and filmmakers, Las Vegas and other corporate executives, and other leaders, got a little taste of the training that thousands of soldiers experience 10-months out of every year at Fort Irwin.
The VIP Box Tour is an immersive experience with three, main goals: Connecting soldiers with companies/businesses/executives/leaders who can assist them (and their spouses) with jobs and transitioning into the civilian workforce; Introducing Hollywood and others into the rigorous, real-life training and lifestyle of a Soldier and their families; and to help ensure Soldiers and their families are properly portrayed on the big and little screens now that they have better knowledge of what they do.
Guests had the chance to load up in training gear, fire high-powered weapons, experience heavy sight, sound and smell tests, climb inside armored fighting tanks, as well participate in scenarios where they kick in doors, catch bad guys and save those in need.
The common theme from visitors was their greater appreciation for what military spouses and families have to go through while their Army member is training and fighting. Read below on why some of the guests told the High Desert Warrior they thought it was important to participate. Some of the other guests included leaders from Caesar’s Palace and MGM in Las Vegas, Nevada; Richie Stephens (MacGyver); Brig. Gen. Belinda Pinckney, and Christina Pascucci of KTLA news put together a TV news story on the event.
Steve O (stuntman, Jackass):
Says he thinks the Army is perhaps more disciplined than I am.
“I’m also interested in teaming up with the Army to accomplish some stunts that are on my bucketlist.” It includes “Helicopter sumo wrestling, I want to have a round trampoline suspended from a helicopter and dress up in plastic sumo suits with my buddies and shove eachother off over the ocean maybe, like 50 or 60 feet up.”
Why he came: “To understand a little bit more. There’s a lot of curiosity I have about the Army in general. (He wanted answers to) A bewilderment about what I don’t understand, like I watched the documentary and it upset me because it seemed like there’s no definable objective (to war) and it made me sad.”
Terry Crews (Actor, Brooklyn 9-1-1; Everybody Hates Chris):
Military Connection: Father was in the Army
“First of all, I have nothing but respect for our military service, the people who serve in the military and all the things they do for us and I think it’s really important that we experience just a little bit of the sacrifice. For one, it’s just invigorating because you understand what our Armed Forces go through and you get the media and movie image but when you see this stuff for real man, it’s so much respect, even more respect and we’ve got video games, we’ve got movies but it does not take the place of something like this and I feel changed, I really do.”
“They tend to respect what we do but I’m trying to tell you, it’s nothing compared to what they do and I just wanted to say that to every person in our Armed Forces, the sacrifices you make—men and women, we’re talking about families who are sacrificing, they’re living on bases and moving every, few years, this kind of sacrifice is necessary and it’s beautiful.”
Isaiah Crews (Terry Crews’ 13-year-old son): “It was scary and fun at the same time. I really don’t know how to explain it, that was actually amazing.”
Bonnie Laflin (First female NBA Scout, Basketball Wives TV show):
Military Connection: “I’m very supportive of our troops. I come from a military family and I think it’s so important, regardless of what side you lay on politically, that you support our men and women in uniform for what they do. The reason we have the freedoms we have, is because of our military.”
“I think it’s absolutely amazing to see women in situations that are normally dominated by men, to be able to see their leadership skills in even infantry now, even on the front lines, showing that women can do it just like the men, I think it’s so empowering and inspiring.”
Judd Lormand (Actor, SEAL Team):
Military Connection: Several males in his family (nephews, cousins, father-in-law, both grandparents on both sides); He plays a lieutenant commander on the TV show, SEAL Team.
Lormand teared up as he said, “The biggest help for me, I think, was seeing the family aspect. It’s hard to even say it without getting a lump in my throat because I always had a respect for anyone who is going to get up and go to foreign soil and pick up a weapon and defend our freedoms and our country, then when I realize what the families, the wives, the spouses do at home, it doesn’t just help me on the show, it actually helps me as a person, and as an American.”
“I used to say all the time, just ‘Thank you for your service,’ but now it’s not just them, it’s their entire families, their entire circle who I truly thank from the bottom of my heart, so it’s changed my perspective completely in a good way.”
Dana Thomas (Fitness model, author- husband of American Idol Jordin Sparks)
Military Connection: “The crazy thing is, when I was 18, I went through the military boot camp (in Colorado Springs) because I went to the Air Force Academy, so I’ve been through some of this, not to the extreme, but I feel like I could keep up.”
His wife, Jordin Sparks, told him a little about her experience visiting Fort Irwin: “She told me that it was really fun and that she loved it. She just told me it was a great time and to come out here and enjoy myself.”
Donna D’Errico (Actress/Model, original Baywatch TV series):
Military Connection: Her father served 20 years in the Army and retired as a captain
“My dad was career military, so I grew up in Columbus, Georgia (Fort Benning), and I was around military my whole life growing up, so this for me is really cool and I’m going to post to social media and tag the hell out of it because I think everybody should know this is going on and be aware.”
“I think the people don’t appreciate the military like they should, like they used to. I don’t know what’s changed but this day in age, I feel like they’re not as appreciated like when I was growing up and that needs to change—they do A LOT!”
Christina Pascucci (KTLA reporter/anchor):
“All this gave me a full level of appreciation for what our service members do, the risks they put themselves in on a daily basis and there’s so much we don’t see while we’re being here enjoying, daily civilian life.”
Jimmy O Yang (Actor, Crazy Rich Asians): “First of all, I think it’s just a fun experience and to just be apart of something that I’ve never got to do, but of course….It gives me a much better appreciation and understanding of the Army and our military.”