Robin Williams meant many things to many people. Paraphrasing President Barack Obama's statement, he was a nanny, a "bangarang Peter Pan," an alien and a college professor.
He was also more to the military than just the boisterous radio disc jockey, rocking it "from the Delta to the DMZ" in Good Morning, Vietnam. (Five months in Vietnam and my best friend is a V.C. THIS WILL NOT LOOK GOOD ON A RESUME!)
Williams was a regular on USO Tours, according to Military Times , performing for more than 89,400 service members in the U.S. and overseas before his death Monday.
"The entire USO family is saddened by the news of Robin Williams' passing," the USO said in a statement. "One of the great comedic actors of his generation, Williams traveled around the world to lift the spirits of our troops and their families. He will always be a part of our USO family and will be sorely missed."
The article said he was one of the first entertainers to go on a USO tour to Southwest Asia in 2002. His last USO tour was December 2010
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also chimed in on Williams' passing
"The entire Department of Defense community mourns the loss of Robin Williams," he said in a statement. "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."
If you were like me, in the moments after I learned Williams had died at the age of 63, I couldn't turn off Twitter. It seemed like every person was commenting on his death and his legacy. Those who had met him shared funny and kind anecdotes ( This was one of my favorites, although Williams was more of a supporting actor in the story... ). It seemed every video clip I clicked on was different, which speaks to Williams' ability as much as anything.
In one of the videos below -- the video tribute -- Williams discusses why he flew around the globe to perform for troops
People say why do you do it? Because I get so much more out of it than the energy (it takes) coming here," he said, standing in front of a Airborne flag. "It's not that hard for me to get here. People say it's a long way -- not really. I flew to Australia and it's about the same distance. ... I have a great time.
"Why do I do it? I meet amazing people, I get great energy back and I think it's just saying 'hey, people care. We're here for you. You're here all year round (and we're) coming in at Christmas just to say we're sending you love from home.' That's the drill."
Williams meant so much to so many people and it's clear his kindness knew no bounds. You'll be missed, Robin.
Below are a few military-themed clips for the Reporting for Duty blog: