'Hollywood Ambassadors' visit FOB Gamberi

Jill Wagner, from the television show, “Wipeout,” hugs a soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, during a tour of Forward Operating Base Gamberi on Saturday in Afghanistan. Wagner, with Armed Forces Entertainment, posed for pictures and signed autographs for soldiers.


LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Two celebrities with Armed Forces Entertainment brought smiles to soldiers at Combat Outpost Xio Haq and Forward Operating Base Gamberi on Saturday.

Actor Romany Malco, from the movie, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” and the TV show, “Weeds,” and Jill Wagner from the hit series, “Wipeout,” walked out of the helicopter at Xio Haq to the popping sound of gunshots. They were quickly told not to worry; the noise they heard was soldiers qualifying at a range located on the base.

The two celebrities were greeted by Lt. Col. Hope Rampy and Command Sgt. Maj. Maurice Greening, the command team of 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

After a quick tour of Xio Haq, the pair stopped at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation room to sign autographs and take pictures.

During the meet and greet, Pfc. Nicasio Martinez, was dared to ask Wagner to the brigade ball. He serves as a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

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,” Martinez said. “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 at Fort Hood after his unit returns home. 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,” Martinez said.

The whirlwind tour continued from Xio Haq to Gamberi.

Following a half-hour UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flight, the duo was given a tour of the base, where they met with senior leaders, traveled to the bazaar and 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 people waiting for the “Hollywood Ambassadors” was long, snaking out the entrance and around the corner of the dining facility. Tables were set up so Wagner and Malco could take pictures and sign autographs.

After more than an hour meeting with soldiers, they refused to 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 base.

“This experience is one that I will never forget,” Wagner said. “It’s so heartwarming to meet all of you guys and hear your experiences.”

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