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Writer Sandra Brown signs an autograph for a U.S. Air Force's 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Mission Support group Commander. (Photo credit: Mike Theiler / USO)
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PHOTOS: Best-Selling Writers Lift Spirits on 'Operation Thriller II' Tour

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

By Christian Pelusi 

Five of today’s most critically acclaimed thriller authors set out on a USO tour to the Middle East on a week-long USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour designed to lift the spirits of deployed troops. The tour, fittingly known as “Operation Thriller II,” featured a series of base visits and autograph signings with these best-selling authors and International Thriller Writers members:

Clive Cussler (Raise The Titanic, Sahara and Deep Six, among many, many others); Sandra Brown (French Silk, Smoke Screen, Smash Cut, Ricochet, The Crush and Unspeakable, among others); Kathy Reichs (The Temperance Brennan Series that became the basis for the popular Fox television series, Bones, Déjà Dead, Death du Jour, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets and Monday Mourning, among others); Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down, Killing Pablo, Guests of the Ayatollah and most recently Worm, among others); Andrew Peterson (First to Kill, recently optioned for a major motion picture, and Forced to Kill)

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Five of today's most critically acclaimed thriller writers, from left to right, Andrew Peterson, Sandra Brown, Kathy Reichs, Mark Bowden and Clive Cussler pose for a photo upon their arrival at a Transit Center in Southwest Asia as part of "Operation Thriller II" USO tour on Nov. 4.

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Brown, right, and Reichs, second from left, share a laugh with USMC Lt. John Garlasco, of Paramus, NJ, upon their arrival of Transit Center in Southwest Asia.

Reichs said: "Being here has shown me that my temporary discomfort is nothing compared to the daily sacrifices made by our members of service. I see young men barely out of high school. Young women barely tall enough to keep the barrels of their M-16's from touching the ground. Gray-haired civilian contractors working to build infrastructure. They are all truly impressive."

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Peterson, right, chats with USMC SSGT Sean Tashma of Los Angeles, at a Transit Center in Southwest Asia.

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Brown, right, signs an autograph for US Air Force's 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Mission Support group Commander Shawna O'Brien of Manassas, Va., as Operations Group Commander Col. Brian Newberry, of Ashburn, Va., awaits his turn, during an office call at a Transit Center in Southwest Asia.

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Bowden, second from left, shakes hands with U.S. Army SSGT Edwin Orellane of Rialto, Calif., as Spc. Jimmy Scherer of Phoenix and SSGT Kris Stallard of Fontana, Calif., wait to greet him during an off duty moment at a Transit Center in Southwest Asia.

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Bowden, second from left, poses with U.S. Army soldiers during a stop at a forward operating base in Aghanistan on Nov. 5.

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Brown and the quintet of writers takes time out to sign autographs for troops at a forward operating base in Afghanistan.

Brown said: "It's been my aim to thank each one I meet, to tell him or her in person how much their contribution and sacrifice means to the American people. The irony is that they've been thanking us! They've been so appreciative of our coming. I -- all of us in the group -- have been moved by the welcome we've received, especially in some of the remote bases where 'visitors' are extremely rare."

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Cussler poses with U.S. Army Capt. Laura Hansen of Langley AFB, Va. and USAF Tech Sgt Edward Phillips of Clearfield, Utah, after having their books autographed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Nov. 6.

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The five authors are shown the arrival area of the Craig Joint Theatre Hospital by USAF Col. Guillermo Tellez at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Nov. 6.

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From left to right, Peterson, Brown, Reichs, Cussler and Bowden pose for a group photo as the light fades at the end of a long day at a forward operating base in Afghanistan.

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Reichs, left, and Brown enjoy the view from the cockpit of a US Air Force C-130 cargo plane, transporting them and fellow authors to another forward operating base in Afghanistan on Nov. 7.

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U.S. Army SSGT Darlene Evans of Omaha, Neb., third from left, who had just completed a re-enlistment ceremony, poses with, from left to right, Peterson, Cussler, Reichs, Brown and Bowden at a forward operating base in Afghanistan.

USO Photos by Mike Theiler 

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