By Danielle DeSimone
On November 1, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” returns to Amazon Prime for season two of the hit series, which tells the story of character Jack Ryan, a Marine turned CIA spy.
To celebrate, John Krasinski, who stars as Jack Ryan, and his co-star Michael Kelly, who plays Mike November, hit the road with the USO to say thank you to the service members who protect our freedoms off-screen every day.
“It’s an absolute honor to [go on a USO tour],” Krasinski said. “There is no way to ever be able to thank each and every service member for what they do for us, but none of us should ever stop trying. This is one way to say thank you.”
For Krasinski, the decision to sacrifice time with his family and visit U.S. bases across Europe was a personal one. The “A Quiet Place” and “The Office” star comes from a big military family and has 11 his aunts, uncles and cousins who have either served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“The respect for what the military specifically does for each and every one of us was instilled very early on,” he said.
While this was Kelly’s first USO tour, Krasinski spent time with service members last year as part of a special USO event aboard the USS Iowa during 2018 LA Fleet Week.
Behind-the-Scenes of Daily Military Life
As part of their 2019 USO tour, Krasinski and Kelly, who also starred in “House of Cards,” visited bases and installations in Europe, including RAF Alconbury in the United Kingdom and Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
The duo visited service members and got a glimpse of daily life in the military, including aircraft tours and a canine demonstration. Krasinski explained that getting a behind-the-scenes look into what it takes to run daily operations was an “incredible” experience.
More importantly, Krasinski and Kelly had a chance to visit with service members and their families and thank them one-on-one for the sacrifices they make every day in the line of duty. They also treated military family members to Q&A sessions ahead of special early screenings of the show’s season two premiere episode.
According to Krasinski, there is something different about military audiences.
“There is an energy that is just so special,” he said. “These men and women spend so much of their time on the front lines for us, and it’s great to be there with them when they get a chance to let loose a little and have a great time.”
Joining the History of the USO
While on his USO Tour, Krasinski also joined a long legacy of entertainers who have dedicated their lives to supporting the troops.
“The USO certainly is a gold standard, not only in the level of dedication to providing our service men and women with experiences they can remember, but also in how long they’ve been dedicated,” Krasinski said, commenting on the USO’s more than 75-year history.
“That level of commitment is so admirable and something special.”
To pay homage to that history and to show our appreciation for his own dedication to the military, Krasinski was presented with the inaugural USO Hope Coin while on tour. The coin, which is in the style of military challenge coins, is presented to entertainers who follow in the path of the legendary Bob Hope, who devoted most of his life to supporting the troops through in-person entertainment and activism.
“It meant the absolute world [to receive the coin],” Krasinski said. “And to be among the first? Well that’s just something I’ll never forget.”
Krasinski encourages other entertainers, artists and athletes to consider going on a USO Tour and supporting our military through the USO. While service members and their families face challenges every day, separation from loved ones during deployment is all the more difficult during the upcoming holiday season. Visits from actors like Krasinski serve as morale boosters for those in the military community who are far from home, family and friends.
“Not only is it the very least any of us can do to give back to a group of people that give so much to each of us, but I have heard countless stories of how certain movies and television shows have given those deployed a little bit of laughter, a little bit of fun in moments when they need them most,” Krasinski said.
“So when these same people are away from their families, from their country, it’s important to bring a little of that to them directly, especially at the holidays.”
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