Remembering Robin Williams' compassion for U.S. troops
From his gift for stand-up comedy to his role as a nanny in "Mrs. Doubtfire," Robin Williams won the hearts and laughs of millions. But there's another side of the legendary actor and comic that some overlook. He was also showed incredible support to American soldiers.
Over a decade of performing for troops
According to Fox News, Williams participated in United Service Organization tours for over a decade, traveling to war zones in 13 countries and performing stand-up for nearly 90,000 troops. His respect for servicemembers of the U.S. ran deep, and he even spoke about his experience performing for soldiers in an interview with ABC News back in 2012.
"I'm so honored to meet them and know what they've gone through and say, 'Hey dude,' this is just something that really humbles me," Williams said, according to the news source.
Servicemembers remember Robin Williams
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a statement Aug. 11, reading, "The entire Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams. Robin was a gifted actor and comedian, but he was also a true friend and supporter of our troops. From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD - so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity."
Even off the stage during his USO tours, Williams showed his dedication to soldiers by visiting those who couldn't see his routine, according to ABC News' global correspondent Martha Raddatz.
"He would be tireless at these performances," Raddatz said in an ABC News report. "He would perform in the big shows where everyone could go see him, but when others were performing, he'd sneak away and go to the guard posts and the dining facilities to visit those soldiers and marines who weren't able to come to the big show."
The loss of Williams reverberated through every sector of the armed forces, even warranting a statement from President Barack Obama .
"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between," Obama said "But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin's family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."