WASHINGTON, March 2, 2015 —
Actor Vince Vaughn treated troops and their families to an advance screening of his upcoming film, “Unfinished Business,” during a USO visit to Edwards Air Force Base, California, Feb. 28.
During a DoD News telephone interview, Vaughn shared his inspiration for meeting service members and their families, and bringing laughter to them wherever they serve.
“My father was in the military,” he said. “My sister was in the National Guard, and I have relatives who were [in the military] all the way back to World War II.”
Standing at 6’5” tall, Vaughn said he did consider serving in the military himself.
“My sister … ended up stationed in the Texas National Guard -- we’re from Illinois -- but she went down there for Fort Hood,” he said. “And I thought about going that same route.”
“When we first went over [for] 9/11,” Vaughn said, “I thought about entering -- like I said my father had served and my sister was in -- and I had thought about it then.”
Ultimately, Vaughn said he reached out to the USO, saying, “I’d really love to be able to show some of the movies to the guys and girls.”
Asked which service he may have envisioned himself joining, Vaughn joked that after traveling and seeing different places, “Air Force bases do seem the nicest.”
“Those guys kind of have the best living conditions,” he added. “I don’t know that I would have the need to be flying stuff, but maybe I could sneak my way in there somehow.”
The actor also revealed a much more personal reason for connecting with the USO to bring a touch of home to troops and their families.
Vaughn said he initially began working with the USO after he learned of the death of his friend, Pat Tillman, a former Arizona Cardinals safety, who put his NFL career on hold to join the Army after Sept. 11. Tillman was later killed while serving in Afghanistan.
“I had met … Pat Tillman,” he said, “and I remember I was in my trailer for ‘Wedding Crashers’ when the news came across the wire that he had passed. And so I thought ‘gosh.’ It really kind of hit home for me in having met him.”
Beginning to have regrets that he had not gone over to serve himself, Vaughn decided to approach the USO to touch troops and military families by serving in different way.
“I had the movie ‘Dodgeball’ coming out,” he said, “and so I called up [USO] out of nowhere and said ‘I don’t know if you guys would be interested, but I’d like to bring this comedy over because it could be funny for everyone to see.’”
Vaughn added, “They were nice enough to accommodate me, so I was able to bring ‘Dodgeball’ to both Iraq and Afghanistan. I did both places at the same time.”
He said the USO group also visited troops in Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan, “and some other places I can’t pronounce very well. It was kind of fun showing the movie to everybody.”
Following that June 2004 USO visit, Vaughn said his next USO trip came with the release of his September 2005 movie, “Wedding Crashers.”
Advance Screening of 'Unfinished Business'
For “Unfinished Business,” Vaughn said he was in town filming the second season of “True Detective,” and thought he’d bring the film to Edwards Air Force Base so troops close by could see it.
“It’s nice to be in a position to say ‘thank you,’” he said, “and if you get a chance to make anyone laugh that’s always fun.”
Vaughn added, “I have a lot of appreciation for the troops and have them in my thoughts a lot with everything that’s going on. It’s always a great moment for me to get a chance to come and share a comedy to say ‘thank you.’”
Thanking the Troops
Asked if he would continue to serve troops with the USO, Vaughn said, “of course,” before sending a message to troops and military families based overseas who may have the opportunity to see the film.
“I’d love to get a chance to go back overseas,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get everybody home here sooner than later, but if not, maybe I’ll try to come over with that first episode of Season Two of ‘True Detective’ or something like that.”
“Thanks for your service,” Vaughn said, noting that service members and their families stationed abroad are “in our hearts and our minds, and I hope they get a chance to see the movie and have some laughs.”
Humble, Kind Star
One service member was particularly thrilled by the actor’s trip to Edwards AFB and said his visit was “really great.”
“It was a dream come true to meet Vince Vaughn,” said 1st Lt. Jamie Lynn Warfield, executive officer for the Mission Support Group. “I’ve been enamored with him ever since I was a little kid.”
“When I told my college friends,” she said, “they were like ‘oh my God, he is your favorite person in the world.’ I am not normally a big movie, celebrity fanatic, but Vince Vaughn was always my star crush. And he was very, very humble and really, really kind.”
(Follow Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallDoDNews)