Drew Carey Leads Comic Tour of Afghanistan
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Aug. 25, 2005 After spending most of the last 24 hours meeting airmen at an air base in Southwest Asia, a group of comedians led by television star Drew Carey arrived here early today to entertain the troops.
Along with Carey, comedians Dave Mordal, Jimmy Shubert, Steve Byrne and Pedro Hernandez are on the tour.
On a whirlwind day Aug. 24, the comics met, signed autographs for and posed for pictures with hundreds of airmen assigned to the Air Force's 379th Expeditionary Wing before boarding a C-130 transport for the five-hour flight to Bagram.
Today, the comics are scheduled to perform at Methar, Jalalabad and Asadabad forward operating bases in Afghanistan before returning for a performance at Bagram's "clam shell" on Aug. 26.
The tour is the first partnership between Defense Department's Armed Forces Entertainment and DoD's America Supports You program. It's a way to bring the America Supports You message directly to the troops, said Brian Natwick of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, which oversees the ASY program.
America Supports You showcases the efforts of everyone from ordinary citizens to powerful corporations in supporting the nation's men and women serving in the global war on terror, Natwick said, and it's important that people in uniform know about that support.
"So entering a partnership with Armed Forces Entertainment is natural for us," Natwick explained. "This tour, along with other things we're planning, will help us communicate to the troops how much the nation values their service," he said.
Armed Forces Entertainment usually works in concert with the United Service Organizations in bringing big-name entertainment to troops overseas, explained Marine Capt. Jesse Davidson, AFE's Southwest Asia circuit manager. But AFE also works on its own to provide a steady stream of both famous and lesser-known, but talented, performers to the nation's armed forces and their families living outside the United States.
"We've had everything from Frisbee-catching dogs to magicians to jazz bands," Davidson said.