Robin Williams Wows Big E Sailors


Story Number: NNS031222-12Release Date: 12/22/2003 4:00:00 PM
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By Journalist 3rd Class (SW) Jason Thompson, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE (NNS) -- Actor/comic Robin Williams, WWE wrestler Kurt Angle, and NASCAR driver Mike Wallace brought a few hours of morale-boosting entertainment aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) during a United Services Organization (USO) show Dec. 19. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, also visited.

The general addressed the crew and embarked air wing inside Big E's Hangar Bay 1, as an enormous American flag flew behind him and cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) was visible alongside the carrier, through the hangar bay doors.

"It really is great to be here," said Myers to the applauding crowd. "We are really appreciative of you guys. It's because of the USS Enterprise that the U.S. is having the impact it's having in this region, from the Horn of Africa to Afghanistan."

Myers also touched on the importance of USO shows.

"These shows are important because it shows the support people have back home. It shows us that America does care and that's important," he said.

Myers introduced Angle to the loud delight of the crowd. Many wrestling fans found their way to the front of the stage and hoisted mock championship belts as Angle took the stage.

"You guys are making a huge difference," said Angle, a former Olympic gold medal winner. "We're letting the world know this is a country that doesn't back down from anybody. I'm proud because I get to be here with you guys and I'm proud of every single one of you. God bless the U.S.A.!"

Before posing for photographs with more of his devoted fans, Angle introduced Wallace to the cheering crowd.

Wallace spoke about his experiences with USO shows and how much he enjoys visiting with troops.

"I was on board USS Enterprise back in 1997," said Wallace. "Back then [Chief of Naval Operations] Adm. Vern Clark was a vice admiral. I just can't help think how great it is to be out here with you. We are big fans of what you do!"

Wallace then introduced Williams while the crew erupted with applause.

"Good morning Enterprise!" bellowed Williams, recalling memories of the film "Good Morning Vietnam."

Williams' father served aboard an aircraft carrier in World War II. Now, with U.S. service members involved in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, Williams is visiting troops throughout the Middle East.

"We're doing shows all over the place out here. We just did a show in Bahrain, which is like Las Vegas compared to Afghanistan," he joked.

Williams entertained the crew and air wing with a half hour stand-up routine, and then signed autographs and took photos with many crew members.

Marine Staff Sgt. Derek Caton saw the show and was excited to meet Myers and Williams.

"The show means a lot for morale and support. It lets us know we're not forgotten out here," Caton said.

Ens. Scott Seddon and Ens. Jason Sharon echoed those sentiments.

"It was funny," said Seddon. "It's nice to know people care and it was really great to have them here before the holidays."

"I had a blast!" said Sharon. "It's good because it helps us relax."

Gen. Myers' wife, Mary Jo, accompanied him to Big E and said she looks forward to meeting with troops.

"This is the best part for my husband and I," she said. "We're always excited to be out here and talking with people so devoted to the mission."

Enterprise Commanding Officer Capt. Rick Neidlinger expressed his gratitude to the USO for putting on the show.

"We're really appreciative," he said. "This really highlights the holidays for us."

Myers and the rest of the visitors took photos with members of the crew in Hangar Bay 1 immediately following the show.

Halfway through the scheduled deployment, Big E's Sailors are preparing to spend the holidays away from family and loved ones back home. The USO show provided a break in the routine, gathering the crew and embarked air wing together for a relaxing and, at times, hysterical show. Myers, Williams, Wallace, and Angle followed in the footsteps of Bob Hope's historic USO shows by providing a truly memorable and appreciated event.

For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ Commander, 5th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc.

 
 
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