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PHOTOS: Thriller Writers Visit Troops Both Stateside, Abroad

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

With help from five of today’s most celebrated novelists including Harlan Coben, Phillip Margolin, F. Paul Wilson, Kathleen Antrim and Heather Graham, the USO kicked off the fourth installment of its Thriller Writers tour with a three-day, morale boosting visit to Washington, D.C., before traveling abroad.

Packed with spirit-lifting activities, the tour began with an autograph signing at the newly constructed USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va., on Oct. 24. The following day, the authors met with wounded warriors at Walter Reed Bethesda National Military Medical Center and later aided with the presentation of this year's Service Member of the Year Awards at the 2013 USO Gala. The writers' visit to the D.C. area concluded with a USO trip to Quantico Marine Corps Base on Oct. 26.

Their USO tour then led to Kuwait's Camp Arifjan and Camp Buehring (which also included a visit to USO Camp Buehring, a local USO center on post) before heading to Germany, where they visited with troops, signed books and led insightful Q&A sessions that touched on the writing process and upcoming projects. (See more photos of the tour on our Flickr set.) 


From left to right, thriller writers Heather Graham, Harlan Coben, Kathleen Antrim, F. Paul Wilson, and Phillip Margolin tour Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany on Oct. 29.

“We make up heroes for a living," Coben said. "Now we get to meet real-live ones and express in some small way our gratitude. I can't imagine a greater honor.”


Antrim, right, and Wilson, second from right, visit with injured soldier Spc. Thomas Adams during a tour stop at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

"I am honored to be included on this tour," Wilson said. "I've spent more years than I care to number spinning tales about fictional men and women who face down threats to their values and way of life. Now I get the chance to mix with the genuine article and thank them for putting themselves in harm's way."


Margolin autographs a book for Staff Sgt. Michelle Dye at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

"Every day, thousands of men and women in our armed forces risk their lives so I have the freedom to write my novels or play with my grandchildren or just play golf without fear," he said. "This tour is my way of thanking them for the sacrifices they make for me and every other American."


Graham, right, visits with a service member at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir, Va., on Oct. 24.

"Throughout my life, I have been in awe of and amazed and humbled by our troops, past and present," she said. "What they do for me, for all of us, is so great that it can't be quantified. I am humbled and privileged to be given a chance to cast a drop in the bucket that should be filled a thousand times over for the services our men and women in uniform perform for our country. There is no way to really thank them."


Antrim chats with service members and signs autographs during a visit to a U.S. military base in the Middle East on Oct. 28.

"As thriller writers, we write about larger-than-life heroes, but nothing that we write can compare to the real life heroes in our military. It is such an honor to travel with the USO and spend time with our real heroes. Those who sacrifice so much to stand between us and those that would do us harm. We owe so much to these men and women and to the USO, a fantastic organization that quietly serves our military."

* See more images from the authors' visits on our Flickr set. 

(USO photos by Fred Greaves / Produced by Christian Pelusi) 

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