Photo Credit: Christopher Sean
By Danielle DeSimone
For Christopher Sean, supporting service members and military families is personal.
As a former Navy brat, the television star of “Hawaii 5-0,” “Days of Our Lives” and “Star Wars Resistance” truly understands how much of a difference a USO entertainment tour can make in the lives of military family members.
That’s exactly why – when given the chance to travel on a USO tour this month – Sean leapt at the opportunity to honor his family’s military history and flew to Japan to spend some time connecting with troops and military family members serving overseas.
Christopher Sean on Life as a Military Brat
The proud son of a Navy father, Sean is familiar with the challenges that come with being a part of the military community. Like most military brats, Sean and his family moved around often, and he spent much of his childhood apart from his father, who was regularly deployed to sea.
However, even though his father was gone a lot, Sean explains that his dad found creative ways to stay connected with him and his family. In particular, Sean remembers that his dad would record VHS tapes himself reading children’s books on the ship and then mail the tapes home for him and his sister to watch.
“That was one of the reasons I wanted to be an actor as a kid,” Sean said. “I grew up seeing my dad ‘on tv’ and I wanted to be like him.”
Although service members’ ability to record themselves reading books to their children has progressed since the days of VHS tapes, the sentiment of wanting to connect to home – whether it be through book readings, care packages or USO entertainment tours – remains the same.
For Sean, the opportunity to go on a USO tour to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan meant that he got to pay homage to his father’s service.
“In a way, it almost felt like it was my duty to be there, to support my father … My dad was actually stationed at Yokosuka nearly 40 years ago, back in 1981,” Sean said.
“So, for me to be able to go back to the same base he was stationed at, the base where he met my mother… [This USO tour] came full circle for me and that was just an absolute dream and an honor.”
One-on-One Connections with USO Yokosuka
While in Japan, Sean spent several busy days getting to know service members and their families. He trained with Marines, spent time with military working dogs, met with fans at USO Yokosuka’s Fandom Day and even had lunch at the Commissary on base.
“I did my best to bring smiles to everyone’s faces,” Sean said.
In addition to smiling for photo ops and cracking jokes with fans, Sean says he also made an effort to memorize things about each conversation he had so he could make a real, genuine connection with service members and their families. He even followed some of them on Instagram and has continued to chat and stay in touch with them via the app.
Sean explains that taking the time out of his day to send friendly and supportive messages to service members is the least he can do for those stationed overseas.
“I’ve just been checking in on them every day, because it’s important,” Sean said. “It’s very important to support the mental health of the military, and I want to make sure they have clarity while they’re out there. I feel like it’s my duty to make sure that they’re okay.”
Sean also encourages other entertainers to participate on USO tours so they can help make a difference in the lives of service members and their families around the world.
“If you have anything in your heart that loves being an American… do it,” Sean said. “It’ll touch your heart, it’ll be a memory for a lifetime, and it is so, so important.”
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