American Gladiators Celebrate Vets During Djibouti Trip
Gladiators from the television show American Gladiator helped U.S. military members and Department of Defense (DoD) contractors honor past and present service members during a Veterans Day event at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti on November 11, 2008.
"This has been the warmest welcome from anywhere that we have ever been," said Monica Carlson, an American Gladiator known as 'Jet'. "I know that we volunteered to come here, but I think that we're the ones who get the reward from being here."
Carlson, Evan 'Rocket' Dollard and Beth 'Venom' Horn spent the holiday in Djibouti taking pictures with Airman, Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and contractors, meeting with personnel, and signing autographs.
"The gladiators are really down to earth," said Staff Sergeant John Begg, a member of the U.S. Air Force's special operations command and control element at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. "I think them coming here is a big morale booster for everybody. It's good to see people coming out to support us and our mission on the USO [United Service Organization] tours."
Also traveling to Camp Lemonnier to celebrate the holiday was the Dallas-based restaurateurs and supporters group Steak Team Mission. The donor organization flew nearly 6,000 pounds of steaks, ice cream and gifts to Djibouti for the camp's service members.
"Our goal was to come over here and do whatever necessary to take care of our Soldiers," said Harvey Gough, founder of Steak Team Mission. "Americans can sleep soundly knowing that we have proud, dedicated Soldiers defending our freedom."
Throughout the holiday, camp personnel also had the chance to participate in various social events, such as a 5K run, a Texas Hold 'em tournament, various sports tournaments and a talent show.
Camp Lemonnier's Commanding Officer Captain Patrick Gibbons said all the events during the Veterans Day celebration wouldn't be possible without the support of all the camp's hard-working personnel.
"Veterans Day is a special day to honor ourselves as veterans, our shipmates, those who have gone before us and those who will follow in our footsteps," said Gibbons. "I sincerely appreciate everything the people at our camp have done to make sure this day was memorable and honored our nation's military with dignity and respect."
Before returning to the United States, Carlson had a message for all the service members who support the country on this holiday.
"I...we are so thankful and so supportive of everything that you all are doing," said Carlson. "No matter what you're up against or what situation you're in, I know that you guys will come out on top. We all are grateful and trust each of you with our lives. Thank you for your service."