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Entertainment Tour Strengthens Comic's Respect for Military

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Aug. 28, 2005 – An already strong sense of respect for military men and women has been made even stronger this week for a comedian performing with television star Drew Carey on a tour to entertain troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere in Southwest Asia.

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Comedian Jimmy Shubert performs at an "America Supports You" morale show for U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Photo by Sgt. Adrian Schulte
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Jimmy Shubert is part of the first overseas morale tour in a partnership between the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program and Armed Forces Entertainment.

"I had a lot of respect for the military before I came here, and I have even that much more since I've been here," Shubert said. "These guys make such tremendous sacrifices, being away from their families and putting themselves in harm's way, that anything Americans can do, even the littlest things, can make a world of difference to the troops."

Shubert said he believes it's an obligation, and even a duty, for him to do what he can for the nation's men and women serving in the global war on terror.

"I'm a comedian," he said. "I tell jokes. Just coming out and doing some shows and making them laugh a little bit at a time when there's not a lot of laughter going around, is the least I can do."

He called the group's chance to perform at three forward operating bases Aug. 25 a "once-in-a-lifetime experience." The comedians shuttled from appearance to appearance aboard an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter, wore body armor and Kevlar helmets, and dealt with rugged terrain and oppressive heat. "But we came here to do shows," he said. "It was really a treat and a half just to meet these guys."

Shubert said he's impressed by the "awesome responsibility" given to servicemembers, many still in their teens. He said their dedication and professionalism are especially impressive when compared to the carefree lifestyle many of their contemporaries who "have no idea what these kids are going through" enjoy in the United States.

"It's amazing to witness the guys at the front, and also the support they get at the back bases," the Philadelphia native said. "It was really humbling."

The level of cooperation among the coalition countries and among the individual U.S. services and the way servicemembers get everything done with people rotating in and out continuously is another insight the tour has given him, Shubert said.

"The way everyone coordinates and works together and comes together as a cohesive unit for the sake of the mission -- that is mind-boggling," he said. "And they bring these guys over for a year or just four months, and it's constantly changing, and it doesn't affect the way the machine runs. It's really amazing."

Shubert is a frequent guest star on the CBS program "King of Queens" and has a situation comedy in development with the Fox network.

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