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By Ron Jensen,
Stars and Stripes European edition
|(Photos by Ron Jensen / S&S) Comedian Robin Williams
was a big hit Tuesday night at Logistics Support Area Anaconda,
Iraq, during a brief USO show stopover.
|Actor-comedian Robin Williams poses with troops at LSA Anaconda,
Iraq, after his USO show Tuesday at the base. Many troops were
able to pose for photos that were then placed on the base Web
site for downloading.
|Model Leann Tweeden carries some goodies to troops Tuesday
at LSA Anaconda. She was making her third trip to Iraq as part
of a USO tour.
|Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway poses for a photo with
Sgt. Samuel Lopez of the 961st Quartermaster Company Tuesday
at LSA Anaconda.
|Actor and comedian Blake Clark, who was an infantry platoon
leader in Vietnam, kept the troops laughing Tuesday at LSA Anaconda.
|Robin Williams meets fans Tuesday at LSA Anaconda.
LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Iraq — Troops around Iraq
got a chance to see it all on Tuesday: Comedy, football and even
a good-looking woman.
“Good evening, Balad,” comedian Robin Williams yelled to more than
3,000 troops at Balad Air Base, a reprise of his “Good Morning,
Vietnam” movie role.
Then Williams was off and running on a stream of consciousness
riff that was sometimes obscene, but other times merely profane.
The troops cheered every “f” bomb, every indecent innuendo and
every naughty gesture from the wound-up comic/actor.
They cheered, too, when he spoke of things about which they are
familiar, like the C-130 Hercules that brought the show to Anaconda
from Baghdad. A good airplane for the deaf, he called it.
“I like when the crew puts on Kevlar and says, ‘It’s perfectly
safe, Mr. Williams,’” he said.
Williams was the star, but he was not the only entertainer. Model
Leeann Tweeden, former NFL quarterback John Elway and comedian and
actor Blake Clark were on the bill as well. Accompanying them was
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. The group
is visiting several locations overseas.
Tweeden, who has visited Iraq twice before on USO tours, acted
as emcee for the show. Because of the chilly night air, she was
bundled in a heavy coat, to the disappointment of many GIs.
“If I take my coat off, I’ll freeze,” she said to a crowd that
cared little about her comfort.
She thanked the troops for their service before introducing Elway,
the Hall of Fame signal caller for the Denver Broncos.
Elway said he was surprised to get an invitation for the tour.
He couldn’t sing or dance and wasn’t much to look at, he said he
told the man on the phone asking him visit American troops.
“He said, ‘How’s your arm?’” Elway recalled. “I said, ‘I can still
chuck it,’ so look out, guys.”
With that, the arm that won two Super Bowls tossed a few dozen
footballs into the crowd, even reaching those in the high seats
at the outdoor stadium.
“You make me proud to be an American,” said Elway. “What you guys
do makes what I’ve done nothing.”
Clark, known for roles in movies such as “The Waterboy” and “The
Ladykillers” and the “Home Improvement” television show, led an
infantry platoon in Vietnam.
Looking at the lineup of dignitaries that accompanied the show,
he said, “Last time I was around this many generals, they made us
His jokes were heavy on satirizing his southern roots. He was born
in Georgia and said he had flashbacks while still in Vietnam.
Clark said he has a lot in common with President Clinton.
“We’re both from the South. We have the same initials,” he said.
“But unlike him, I went to Vietnam, and I did inhale.”
Before leaving the stage for the headliner, Clark turned serious.
Speaking as a combat veteran, he said, “Take it from me, years from
now … you’ll remember this. You didn’t read about it in a book.
You didn’t see it on TV. You lived it. And nobody can take that
away from you.”
Williams rambled at the speed of an F-16 from one topic to another,
stopping on one only long enough to get a laugh or two before rolling
When one female soldier shouted out, “I love you, Robin,” he said,
“There’s one lonely woman. If you’re attracted to me, you’ve been
here too long.”
When a male soldier shouted something similar, he said, “You know
we can’t get married, but we can have a good time.”
At the show’s end, Williams posed for group pictures, which will
be available in a few days on the Web site for the 1st Corps Support
Command at www.bragg.army.mil/coscom/.
Clark joined Williams for the photos while Elway and Tweeden signed
scores of autographs.
“I enjoyed it,” said Airman Johnathan Roche of the 887th Customs
Squadron. “Time well spent.”
Pfc. Richard Smith of the 502nd Engineer Battalion lived out a
fantasy Tuesday night. The longtime Denver Broncos fan got Elway’s
“It’s like a dream,” he said. “It’s something I’ll remember the
rest of my life.”
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