WASHINGTON — Actor Sean Astin and wrestler Bradshaw are among celebrities who are using their stardom to increase troop morale and keep the military fresh in the minds of Americans.
Astin, who is known for his roles in “Rudy” and the “Lord of the Rings,” visited the Pentagon Jan. 30 to record public service announcements thanking troops for their service and re-emphasizing America’s trust in its military.
He also narrated an announcement to promote the Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, and asked interested soldiers to apply to the command if they are interested in becoming a CID Special Agent.
“There’s a lot of different people and voices in America, and I don’t mind letting my voice be heard,” Astin said during an interview conducted at the Pentagon. “I learned from reading about Vietnam that no matter what you think politically about certain deployments, as a good citizen and a patriot it’s your duty to appreciate that there are soldiers using their lives on your behalf as a citizen.”
Although many may know that Astin has appeared in more than 25 motion pictures, few know that he has served as a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army since 1995. He served under Togo West, Louis Caldera and now the current Secretary of the Army Thomas White.
For protocol purposes Astin, as a civilian aide, is ranked just below a three-star general and is considered to be the secretary of the Army’s personal representative in the California region. Part of the basis of a CASA’s appointment is his ability to increase the public’s understanding of the Army, and Astin said he tells the Army story to anyone who wants to know it.
“I’m in a position where I do whatever I can to support the Army,” Astin said. “I’ve visited installations, and took the time to write ‘thank-you’ letters to business who had reserve-component soldiers to be mobilized.”
In an unofficial capacity, Bradshaw has conducted countless interviews, worn Army apparel on TV and used his weekly program sponsored by World Wrestling Enterprise as a venue to talk about how the war is affecting its troops.
Bradshaw visited the Pentagon Feb. 4 and soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., who are recovering from wounds inflicted while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He was one of three performers who accompanied Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack Tilley on a USO tour to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kuwait during the Christmas holiday.
“During the USO trip, I told Sergeant Major Tilley that I regret not being a soldier,” Bradshaw said. “He told me that, ‘everyone has to find his own role and do what he can to support troops.'”
Both in and out of the ring, Bradshaw said his niche is telling Americans what life is like for soldiers on enemy territory.
“Video games have gotten so realistic now a lot of times people believe that soldiers are in some type of high-tech video game over there. That’s not the case, we’re putting men and women in the way of bullets.
“Despite the fact the Army does everything outstandingly well to take care of these soldiers, they’re still out in the desert, away from families, and I don’t care if they’re staying in the Hilton, it’s no place they want to be.”
In the future, Bradshaw said he wants to film public service announcements also.
Astin’s announcements will be seen on Armed Forces Radio and Television Stations.