Monty Brinton/CBS ©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved(WASHINGTON ) — Aside from his acting and comedy career, Robin Williams, who died Monday, will be remembered for his generous USO tours to entertain the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a statement Monday night, “The entire of Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a true friend and supporter of our troops. From entertaining thousands of servicemen and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD – so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.”
Retired Army General Carter Ham, who accompanied him on those tours, says the comedian will long be fondly remembered by the servicemen and women.
“He had this uncanny ability to make an instantaneous personal connection whether he was talking to a young soldier one-on-one or whether he was talking to an audience of several thousand,” Ham said. “I think he earned the love and the respect of the uniformed services and I know that personally I’ll miss him dearly.”
“During his performances I think what he hoped to bring was a couple of minutes of humor, a couple of minutes away from the seriousness of the mission that they were embarked upon and a moment to reflect, to bring a little bit of home to them,” Ham added. “Those who were able to see him and meet him in person I think detected that generosity of his spirit, the genuine nature of his, his love for the troops, his respect for them. I think that will long endure.”
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