Wednesday, December 22, 2010

“I wanted to come out here to thank you guys personally for all that you do,” Mark Wahlberg visits Camp Leatherneck for Christmas Holiday

Boston Native Mark Wahlberg visits the troops at Camp Leatherneck for a Christmas Holiday.....Good to see the troops got a visit from him.

Glad " the Fighter" could be there for the troops....Kicking around my old stomping grounds.

Mark Wahlberg visits Helmand province
Regional Command Southwest
Story by Lance Cpl. Jeremy Fasci

Mark Wahlberg visits coalition forces aboard Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 19, 2010.

During his visit, Wahlberg premiered his new movie, "The Fighter" as well as signing autographs and having his picture taken with various service members aboard Camp Leatherneck in support of International Security Assistance Force.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl Timothy P. Chesnavage/Released)

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Service members at Camp Leatherneck, Camp Dwyer and combat outpost Azadi had the met with actor Mark Wahlberg during a holiday visit to Afghanistan, Dec. 19 and 20.

The first trip to Afghanistan by Wahlberg turned into an instant success as service members, the majority of them Marines, jockeyed for the chance to get a picture and autograph. Working twelve-to fifteen-hour days, often 7 days a week, having a celebrity like Wahlberg visit was a welcomed break for service members.

“Everyone was kind of in good spirits looking to get out of the office, go see a movie and get a few hours off of work,” said Staff Sgt. Laura Maguire, current operations chief for I Marine Headquarters Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD). “It was important for me, I grew up in Jersey and he was a big deal, granted he was from Boston, but he was huge for us, you know Mark Wahlberg, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, the Calvin Klein underwear ads. Over the years he turned into a great actor and I just wanted to meet the guy.”

After arriving in Afghanistan Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commander of Regional Command Southwest, met with Wahlberg and spoke to him about the many different things coalition forces are doing in Helmand province to provide security for its people. Once the meeting was done, the group set out to meet and greet as many servicemembers as possible.

During his time at Camp Leatherneck, Wahlberg visited Marines with 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Logistics Group and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in front of their respective headquarters compounds. He also met with Marines from the military working dog platoon, the wounded warrior program and servicemembers recovering at the Bastion Hospital. Between the different meetings his new movie, ‘The Fighter,’ was played for large groups at a modified theater set up on Leatherneck.

As the crowds packed into the theater Wahlberg spoke to everyone about his deep appreciation for their efforts and why it was so important for him to come here.

“I wanted to come out here to thank you guys personally for all that you do,” said Wahlberg. “People always want to pat me on the back and tell me how great I am. I am a very humble guy, you guys deserve all the pats on the back and all the thanks in the world.”

For many service members this was the first time they had seen a movie so quickly after it was released since arriving in country nine or ten months ago.

The second day of the trip Wahlberg took a trip to Camp Dwyer. During the visit there was another showing of his new movie and visits to the medical center and wounded warrior area.

Once he was done meeting service members in these locations he pushed out to an even smaller location, COP Azadi in Marjah. Marjah was once one of the most dangerous areas in Helmand province but is now quickly becoming a model for other areas throughout Afghanistan.

Wahlberg met, took pictures with and signed autographs for as many service members as possible and broke up the monotony of everyday life in Afghanistan for coalition forces.

“He was phenomenal, he was really down to earth and soft spoken,” said Maguire. “People were literally grabbing his jacket and tugging on his hand to get his attention to get a picture and he was just cool with it. He literally took the time to sign as many autographs as people wanted and took pictures with everybody. I thought that was pretty cool because a lot of the people that come out here are just here for public appearance and not to meet the troops

1 comment:

Ron Snyder said...

Kudos to Mr. Wahlberg.