BAGHDAD, Iraq — On television, actor Jeff Donovan plays a defunct spy who has expertise in explosives and weapons.
Recently, however, at Combat Outpost Meade, south of Baghdad, it was Donovan who took pointers from the Soldiers of 113th Field Artillery Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team.
Donovan was accompanied by Don Campbell, military advisor for the tour, and Bruce Campbell, Don Campbell's brother, and also a cast mate of Donovan.
Bruce Campbell is a star in his own right, from films such as, "Army of Darkness," and "Bubba Hotep." Both Donovan and Bruce Campbell appear on the USA network television show, "Burn Notice."
During their visit at COP Meade, Bruce Campbell and Donovan tried their hand at the firing range and met with Soldiers as part of a morale, welfare and recreation tour throughout Iraq.
"Everybody should support the troops," said Bruce Campbell.
Only a few minutes after landing in a UH-60 Black Hawk, the two actors were greeted by cheers and shouts, "Hey Bruce!"
"Hi guys, how is it going," said Bruce Campbell as he and Donovan walked into a maintenance bay.
The Soldiers were appreciative as the actors posed for photos and signed autographs.
"It was inspiring because somebody cares enough to come here and entertain us," said Sgt. Micah Joseph, a human resources specialist from Charlotte, N.C.
Bruce Campbell and Donovan were as interested in the Soldiers as the Soldiers were of them, taking nearly as many photos and asking as many questions of the Soldiers.
"I am impressed by individuals I have met; how mentally strong they are," said Donovan. "It takes a certain mentality to do the job out here from the boredom to sudden violence."
Donovan tried on one of the Soldier's body armor.
"You don't have to work out, just carry the weapon and armor," Donovan said while wearing the armor.
Later, the actors went to the firing range for an opportunity to fire an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the M-4 rifle and an M-9 pistol. After a short safety briefing, the actors put in earplugs and fired the weapons safely down range.
After another quick orientation and brief, Donovan then climbed atop an armored humvee, dropped into the gunner's turret, and fired the M-240-Bravo machine gun once the range was cleared for firing again. The actor had to make some slight adjustments at first.
"It was a learning experience," said Donovan.
"It is more fun out here than firing on a film set," Bruce Campbell said. "We have editors who make sure we always hit the target."
The three all have ties to the military. Donovan's father served in Vietnam and Korea, and Don Campbell currently serves in the reserves.
Don Campbell, who has 28 years in the military, tours with his brother and helps the actors with a few pointers.
"When Bruce volunteered I told him what to expect; military dos and don'ts, Arab culture," Don Campbell said.
He also showed brotherly concern as well.
"I told him what could happen; there is no guarantee of a safe journey," Don Campbell said.
Don Campbell and the actors visited an Iraqi bazaar that supported local widows and orphans in the area. Bruce Campbell, and Donovan greeted some of the Iraqi Soldiers who train alongside U.S. Soldiers on the COP.
After the two hour visit, the three men went to the helipad to catch a ride to the next post on the tour.
Bruce Campbell left with a message for his fellow actors back in the U.S.
"Everybody should go, there is nothing more real than a war," he said.
This work, Burn Notice actors spend time with Soldiers, by SFC Robert Jordan, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.