579th Engineer Detachment (FEST-M)
12.18.2010 Story by Mark Abueg KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Cool and calm. Just as any Army soldier should be in any situation.
You couldn’t fault the non-commissioned officer for being a little nervous for one night. But he wasn’t.
As he roamed around backstage of the star-studded event, he mingled with the likes of a man who has conquered the silver screen to another who has defeated cancer.
Sgt. 1st Class Candido Aguilar, senior construction supervisor with the 579th Engineer Detachment, looks onstage as comedian, Robin Williams, performs during the USO’s annual holiday tour. Photo by Mark Abueg
Joyce Borum, bottom, internal review officer with the 579th Engineer Detachment, gets the pat down from actor and comedian, Robin Williams. Photo by Mark Abueg
“This was just a time to forget about everything,” said Sgt. 1st Class Candido Aguilar, senior construction supervisor with the 579th Engineer Detachment (Forward Engineer Support Team - Main). “It was great to just be at this event and meet Robin Williams and Lance Armstrong.”
The USO’s annual holiday tour made its stop here led by U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
According to the USO’s official website, the USO has teamed with the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs since 2000, launching 12 entertainment tours, which have reached over 150,000 service men and women.
Mullen said it was an honor for him and his wife, Deborah, to be in Afghanistan honoring the sacrifices that all the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Civilians make while being deployed.
For Aguilar, the biggest sacrifice is being away from his family.
“It’s tough,” Aguilar said. “I know my mission isn’t as stressful as some of the others out here, but there’s not a day that goes by that I can’t wait to be back with my wife and kids.”
During the stress-free night, Aguilar met and took pictures with seven-time Tour de France champion Armstrong, actor and comedian Williams, comedian Kathleen Madigan, Grammy award-winning comedian Lewis Black, country music star Leon “Kix” Brooks, and Hall of Fame songwriter Bob DiPiero.
“I was surprised that Robin Williams was as small as I was,” Aguilar jokingly said.
The 2010 edition of the USO’s holiday tour did what it was intended to do for Aguilar and the thousands of other Servicemembers deployed to Afghanistan.
“I just tried to have fun and relax,” Aguilar said. “And that’s exactly what I did tonight.”