Robin Williams' apparent suicide strikes chord with military

To those in the military, the loss of actor-comedian Robin Williams was like losing one of their own.

Lt. Col. Arnold Strong with the U.S. Army Reserve remembers seeing Williams perform when he was deployed to Kuwait 10 years ago. He said back then Williams connected with troops through his jokes. Now, many troops can identify with Williams through his struggle with depression.

"That's why you see such an outpouring of emotion and support across the world from everyone, but very much from veterans. Depression doesn't discriminate. It targets the best in us and it also brings out the worst in us," Strong said.

Bob Kurkjian, executive director for Bob Hope USO, said suicide is a big issue for members of the military and USO.

"We're working on it daily to make sure we can help members who are in trouble... look forward to something brighter and better in the future," Kurkjian said

Williams entertained U.S. troops for more than a decade. He would even travel to war zones during the holiday season to perform.

A number of veterans said Williams was humble and gracious during and after his shows. He would often hang around and talk with troops after a show. One Thanksgiving, he even helped serve meals.

"Robin was happy when he was entertaining the troops. It worked perfectly, because the troops were happy when he was entertaining them," Kurkjian said.


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