In 2003, I was stationed in Kirkuk, Iraq, with my unit. It was right after I suffered my nervous breakdown after a rocket attack severly injured 2 of my soldiers.
I was reassigned to the main base of operations in the city, the air base co run by the Air Force and the Army, where I was then given the responsibility of upgrading all the buildings we were occupying, as well as coordinating the repair of local schools for the Iraqi children in the town.
One day, my assistant and I heard a USO bus was coming to the base, and would be there that afternoon. We both decided to drive out and see who was coming. It turned out to be Curt Angle, a NASCAR driver, the name escapes me, and to my surprise, Mr. Robin Williams.
I went to the area, where all the soldiers, about 1000 or more, were gathered around the stars, and I stood near the area where Mr. Williams was. There was tumultuous shouiting to have him yell out “Good Morning Vietnam” as well as a few requests for “Nanoo-Nanoo” from Mork and Mindy.
I was feeling rather embarassed for the star, as he was there to make us feel better and not showcase his films and television shows. So after about 10 minutes of listening to him ramble off several extremely funny jokes, I left the area, and hung out where we had parked.
It was right behind a bus, which I was under the impression was one of the many from the convoy for the stars that had come. I was leaning against the side of our Nissan truck when the stars were rallied back to their transportation.
I watched, amazed, as Robin Williams climbed into the bus I was sitting next to, putting on a flack jacket and helmet for the drive. He then stood next to the seat where he was going to sit, when he noticed me standing next to the truck.
A large smile crossed his face, and he waved at me. Amazed I looked around and saw he was intending it toward me. I waved back as he sat in his seat. He then stared at me, and put on an exaggerated smile, and gave me a thumbs up. Moments later the bus started up, and drove off.
There was a moment of uncomprehending the situation, followed by the sudden understanding what he was telling me. He was saying to keep a smile, and keep on soldiering. he was proud of me, of us all.
I never thought a movie star would reach out to ordinary people as he had, not to mention to offer a small bit of support to an individual soldier who must have obviously been suffering from a mental disorder.
That is a day I will never forget. A day that will remind me that we are all human, no matter our status. Robin Williams reached out to me, and consoled me.
Word reached me today that he had passed away. I want to tell this story to the world, as well as reach out to his family, to let them know that I for one was personally touched by the Humanitarian.
My thoughts go out to the entire family, and I send my complete condolences.
This is a man who will be missed by the entire world.
It is amazing to me, that even outside the realm of the army, almost 20 years to the date later, these comics are still being read, and liked. I did them on my own time, mostly when we were out in the “Field” doing our movement exercises, or training how to more efficiently kill someone. It was nothing more than a way for me to be able to pass time, and keep practicing another form of writing, one that I liked, in picture form. Sure the humor is immature, and crude, but it was supposed to be. I was not trying to inject adult mature humor or political satire into my stuff, I just wanted to make people laugh at what I though was funny.
I would often let my friends read what I wrote, and ask their opinions. Mostly it was positive.
So why is it 20 years later I am now making them available to you all to read?
Well, honestly I don’t rightly know. I found my old note books, containing hundreds of stories, either finished or just begun, either comic or word, that I accumulated over the years in the Army. There is some 15 or so of them.
I continued writing and drawing until the day I left the Army, and even to this day I am writing novels and stories based on ideas that seem to haunt me in my head.
I decided simply to start adding them to my blog, and see what people think.
I hope you like them…
Here are some Comic strips I made when I was in Iraq in 2003. It is the story of my wife, two boys our cat Lucky and dog Boo-Boo.
Hope you enjoy them.