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Comedy Star Visits Troops in Southwest Asia

By Tech. Sgt. Mark Munsey, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

A BASE IN SOUTHWEST ASIA, Aug. 25, 2005 – A common refrain in stand-up comedy circles says that the hungriest and most fearless performers will go anywhere and work any room to get their levity-rich message to the masses.

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F-16 crew chief Staff Sgt. Andy Adducchio briefs Drew Carey on his mission responsibilities. Carey and a team of fellow comedians traveled to the Southwest Asia theater of operations to entertain forward-deployed troops Aug 24. Adducchio is a member of the 180th Aircraft Maintenance Unit deployed from the 178th Fighter Wing, Springfield Ohio Air National Guard. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Randy Mallard, USAF
  

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Stretching the 'have laughs, will travel' axiom to its continent-bouncing limits, actor and comedian Drew Carey headlined a five-person comedy team traveling several time zones to work front-line 'rooms,' beginning here Aug. 24.

Before the team headed to Afghanistan later in the day, Carey said his mission was to create some smiles at this Southwest Asia military hub. "I came here to talk to the troops," he said, and they were more than ready to chat and interact with him.

Starting with breakfast at the Manhattan, the base's new dining facility, Carey worked the room.

"I had the privilege of spending some time with Mr. Carey and his party," said Col. Ted Kresge, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "They're down to earth, genuine Americans who came all the way to this area of responsibility just to thank you for serving."

After visiting patients and caregivers at the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group, the team took to the flight line and fire house, mingling with enthusiastic troops every step of the way.

Staff Sgt. Andy Adducchio, 180th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief deployed from the 178th Fighter Wing, Springfield Ohio Air National Guard, was among many who Carey visited under the base F-16 sunshades.

"It was really nice and definitely something interesting that I'd never expect to happen," Adducchio said. "It was something cool from home."

Taking advantage of any available personnel, Adducchio exploited the Ohio connection with Cleveland-born Carey and geared him up for the afternoon's missions. "He actually assisted me with an F-16 launch," the crew chief said.

It was just the latest military resume notch for Carey, who is no stranger to serving his country. Having completed a hitch in the Marine Reserves after enlisting a quarter century ago, he knows firsthand the importance of time spent in uniform.

Carey said the self-respect he received from his time as a Marine helped him build a gift that has kept on giving. "A large part of my success is because of the military discipline I learned," he said.

And he witnessed that very discipline firsthand during his time with the troops, getting a kick out of experiencing it through the eyes of his comedic team as they interacted with the airmen here.

"They keep commenting on how amazingly mature everyone is," Carey said.

In addition to just having a chance to get out and entertain deployed servicemembers, Carey saw his team's visit as an important message from home: America supports you.

"It's important that everyone here knows that we're all behind them,' he said.

Carey's team included comedians Steve Byrne, Pedro Hernandez, David Mordal and James Shubert.

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mark Munsey is assigned to 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAfter donning full-protective bunker gear, Drew Carey ascends the stairs at the base fire house prior to descending the fire pole. Carey was part of a five-person comedic team that traveled to a Southwest Asia base to entertain forward-deployed troops. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Munsey, USAF  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDrew Carey is surrounded by servicemembers at a Southwest Asia base during a visit to an aircraft maintenance unit Aug 24. Carey was part of a five-person comedy team that traveled to the theater of operations to entertain forward-deployed troops. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Randy Mallard, USAF  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDrew Carey dons protective-gear bunker pants, assisted by Airman 1st Class Anthony Williston. Carey was part of a five-person comedy team that traveled to Southwest Asia to entertain forward-deployed troops Aug. 24. Williston is a fire-protection specialist assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Fire and Emergency Services unit. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Randy Mallard, USAF  
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