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05/15/2005 06:49:59 AM


Believe it or not: Superman thanks service members for their hard work

13 May 2005 | Sgt. Juan Vara

The Marines and soldiers here never forget where they are. Every waking moment they are reminded that a serious threat to life exists in their small piece of Iraqi desert. In this remote outpost of Iraq, a small group of camouflage clad service members got a rare glimpse of some familiar faces. Two Hollywood personalities were here May 13 to show the Marines and soldiers their appreciation for their hard work in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dean Cain, famous for his role as Clark Kent/Superman in the television series “Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman” and the host and producer of the series “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” was here accompanied by Amanda Swisten, a model and actress best known for her role in the 2003 movie “American Wedding,” where she starred as the French maid in the bachelor party scene. Dozens of war fighters braved the heat and waited outside Kalsu’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation tent as other Marines and soldiers waited inside the jam-packed tent for a chance to meet Cain and Swisten. The celebrities chatted briefly with the warfighters, posed for pictures and signed autographs. “Occasions like this definitely benefit morale here,” said Lance Cpl. Russ Bonham, an air traffic controller assigned to Marine Air Control Squadron 2 and Statesboro, Ga., native. “Amanda Swisten is a sexy girl and after seeing her here I’m forced to go watch ‘American Wedding’ again.” Renee Favors, MWR representative for Multi-National Force-Iraq, said the “Ambassadors of Hollywood” trip was made possible through coordination with the Department of the Army and Pro Sports MVP, a marketing firm that works with the military to take sports and entertainment celebrities to bases around the world. Favors, originally from Montgomery, Ala., said the celebrities are touring Iraq for two weeks, visiting mostly forward operating bases where there’s usually no entertainment for the service members. “Bases like this is where they really need it,” said Favors. “Some of the small bases are out of the way, but we don’t want any of the troops to think they’re forgotten. They can’t come out here and be on a mission all the time; they need to have a touch of home somewhere.” According to Cain, who said service members are the toughest people he’s ever met, the response from those in Iraq has been impressive. “Everybody’s been so appreciative but we’re here to say ‘We appreciate you,’” said Cain. “We’re thinking about the people in the military every single day.” Swisten said the trip to Iraq gives her an opportunity to show her patriotism and her support to the military. “I want to thank everyone for being in this horrible heat and wearing all this heavy equipment,” she said, talking about the outer tactical vests and the small arms protective inserts plates everyone wears here. “These guys are all my heroes and I want to let them know they are not forgotten.” The visit, according to Favors, gave the celebrities a better sense of appreciation for what the U.S. military is doing in support of Operation Iraq Freedom. “Acting is a whole lot easier than being in the military,” said Cain. Celebrity visits, music stars, and other morale boosting events are sometimes a rarity in a combat zone. These tours do not serve as a distraction from the fighting, but provide an opportunity for some of the warfighters to take a break and receive the appreciation they deserve.- For more information about the event reported on in this story, please contact Sgt. Juan Vara by e-mail at -
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