Stephen Colbert Films Show In Iraq
(June 15, 2009)
|BAGHDAD (ANS, June 11,2009) - It is official -
Stephen Colbert came, saw and conquered Iraq, claiming victory on day three of
his six-day adventure to the Middle East.|
Arriving in a C-17 from Kuwait, Colbert landed at the Baghdad International
Airport June 5 and began preparing for his shows at Camp Victory's Al Faw
Palace, as part of his tour "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando."
"We wanted to call it 'Feelin HOT, HOT, HOT: Papa's got a brand new Baghdad,'
but it was too many words," he said.
Stephen Colbert poses with servicemembers at Camp Victory's Al Faw Palace in
Baghdad, Iraq on June 5, 2009.
Photo by Lee Craker
In March, Colbert announced his visit to the Persian Gulf, but was forced to
remain tight-lipped about the event in true operational-security style. Since
then, he introduced a new segment on his hit nighttime talk show, trying to
guess which one of the seven Persian Gulf countries occupied by U.S. forces he
Iraq was the winner.
In order to prepare for the trip, Colbert attended basic training at Fort
Jackson, S.C. The training lasted eight hours, although he said he "might have
dipped out an hour early."
Now a slightly trained killer, armed with a smile and his "A" bag full of
satirical humor, Colbert was ready to take his show live to Baghdad, where it
would be recorded, edited and sent back via satellite to the U.S. It is
something the United Service Organization said was a first for any overseas tour
they have organized.
Multi-National Force-Iraq Command General Ray Odierno asked Colbert to come and
perform for the troops. However, Colbert said he came here for the buzz cut
President Barack Obama ordered Odierno to give to him during the opening show at
the palace June 7.
"I also want to claim this as my military time if I decide to run for president
in 2012," he said.
Colbert filmed four shows, which began airing in the U. S. the week of June 8.
The reaction from the servicemembers here has been amazing, he said.
"It's been fantastic," he said. "All these people are so nice out here; I don't
understand why they want to fight with each other."
Colbert noted that he knows nothing about the country of Iraq, aside from the
few days he has was at Camp Victory.
"It's hot, it's sandy, the sun is blazing. It seems like Texas, but with fewer
guns," Colbert said.
Soldiers, Airman, Sailors, and Marines packed the palace's rotunda every night
of tapings, their thunderous cheers echoing off three stories of marble walls.
Spc. Tareq Salha, an interpreter with 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery
Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, based in Schofield Barracks,
Hawaii, said he enjoyed meeting Colbert because he was such a genuine person.
"He is trying to express what we, as Soldiers, go through in a fun way, and he
succeeded," Salha said. "It was an outstanding experience, and I really enjoyed
being able to speak on behalf of myself."
In addition to the night's performances, Colbert spent time meeting and greeting
servicemembers on Camp Stryker, another camp located within Baghdad's Victory
"It's a nice break in the day to come in here and meet him," said Staff Sgt.
Jason Moldan, an Army Reservist with the 401st Engineer Company. "It's really
great that celebrities can come over here and see us," said Moldan.
By Army Sgt. Lindsey Bradford
Multi-National Corps-Iraq Public Affairs Office
from Army News Service
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