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Service Members to Read Letterman's Top 10 List

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2002 – Maybe the announcer will go "It's 'The Late Show With David Letterman' featuring guest appearances by the U.S. military." Then again, probably not.

But members of the U.S. military have been and will continue to be featured on the show. Soldiers of the 101st Airborne (Airmobile) Division started the appearances when they read Dave's "Top 10" list on Jan. 18. Sailors get the next shot when crewmembers aboard the destroyer USS Thorn, based in Norfolk, Va., read the list Jan. 31.

Soldiers in Afghanistan, Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and airmen at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, are tentatively set to get their turns reading the lists for the late night show.

Maj. John Robinson, an Army public affairs officer based in New York, coordinated the idea. "The Letterman people sent one of the characters on their show, Biff, to Bosnia early in 2001," he said. "He spoke with and did bits with soldiers based there, and I wondered if there was some way we could expand that."

Robinson said the Letterman people were cooperative. He said they wanted to do something with service members around Christmas, "but we couldn't get it to work."

Steven Rubenstein, a spokesman for the show, said, "these are the men and women working to protect our country. Dave simply wanted to highlight them, and we are proud and honored to do so."

In the spirit of the show, these are the "Top 10 Reasons It's Better for U.S. Service Members to Appear on the Letterman Show Than any Other on TV."

Number 10: You don't have to stand in the cold with a piece of cheese on your head as you would if you were a Packers fan.

Number 9: Crikey! Dave won't make you wrestle a crocodile to be on TV.

Number 8: You might have a tough time explaining to your commander why you had a guest shot on "Will and Grace" or "Sex in the City."

Number 7: Which is cooler, for your friends to come up and say, "I saw you on Letterman," or "Weren't you the guest shucker on the Iowa Corn Report?"

Number 6: What would you rather tell your kids, "I read the Top 10 list on Letterman" or "I shook Al Roker's hand on the Today Show once."

Number 5: You could be on a Public Broadcasting System show, but hey, aside from "Sesame Street," who watches that?

Number 4: You won't have to put on a fake Jersey accent like you would on "The Sopranos." KnowwhatImean? Fuhgetabbahdit.

Number 3: You won't have to carry a sign saying "Hi, Mom." You can carry your M-16 and that will be just fine.

Number 2: It's got to be a better gig than waking up and finding "60 Minutes" waiting to interview you.

And finally:

Number 1: It lets Americans see what a motivated, professional military they have protecting them.

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