News: ‘Hollywood Ambassadors’ visit FOB Gamberi
Story by Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Two celebrities with Armed Forces Entertainment brought smiles to soldiers at Combat Outpost Xio Haq and Forward Operating Base Gamberi, April 6.
Actor Romany Malco, from the movie, “The 40-Year Old Virgin,” and the television show, Weeds, together with Jill Wagner from the hit series, “Wipeout,” walked out of the helicopter at COP Xio Haq to the popping sound of gunshots. They were quickly told not to worry; the noise they heard was of Soldiers qualifying at a range located on the base.
The personalities were greeted by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Hope Rampy, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Maurice Greening, senior enlisted adviser, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
After a quick tour of COP Xio Haq with the command group, the pair stopped at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation room to sign autographs and take pictures.
During the meet and greet, Pfc. Nicasio Martinez, native of Chicago, was dared to ask Jill Wagner to the brigade ball. He serves as a wheeled vehicle mechanic, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4BSTB, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div.
After waiting in line to meet the actress, Martinez asked her to the ball. Wagner told Martinez to ask her correctly and get on one knee. So on bended knee, Martinez held her left hand and asked Wagner if she would like to go to the brigade ball.
“Because I was the only single soldier out here,” said Martinez. “I got the nerve to do it, I asked her and she said ‘yes.’”
After saying yes to Martinez, Wagner jumped up and down in celebration. She said she never attended a military ball before. They took a picture together and Martinez gave Wagner’s assistant his contact information.
Martinez said the brigade ball will be held at Fort Hood after his unit redeploys to Fort Hood. The 20 year-old said he has been in the Army for a year and is on his first deployment to Afghanistan.
“I am looking forward to the ball and I hope she attends,” said Martinez.
The whirlwind tour continued from COP Xio Haq to FOB Gamberi.
Following a half-hour UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flight, the duo were given a tour of the FOB. They met with senior leaders, traveled to the bazaar, they even sat inside a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. The two celebrities ended their tour of the base at the Gamberi dining facility.
The line of individuals waiting for the ‘Hollywood Ambassadors’ was long, snaking out of the entrance and around the corner of the dining facility. Tables were set up so that Wagner and Malco could take pictures and sign autographs.
After more than an hour meeting with soldiers, they did not take a break, even after they were asked by the MWR staff, they wanted to see as many people as they could before they left the FOB.
“This experience is one that I will never forget,” said Wagner. “It’s so heartwarming to meet all of you guys and hear your experiences.”
This is Wagner’s first visit to Afghanistan to visit the troops and said she hopes to come back. She said she really appreciates what the military stands for and what they do out here.
“This is something I will take with me for the rest of my life,” said Wagner.
When the two ‘Hollywood Ambassadors’ finished signing autographs at the dining facility, they visited FOB Gamberi senior leadership. They were thanked for taking time out of their busy schedules and were presented with challenge coins and a framed certificate of appreciation. Shortly after, two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters arrived to pick them up at the Gamberi helicopter landing zone to fly them to Bagram Air Field.