Mark Wahlberg has spent several days just before the holidays in Afghaniston, doing a USO tour of the United States Marine Corps base located in Helmand Province, Camp Leatherneck. These are some of the great photos, and you can see more here at the USO’s site. According to the USO site, Mark screened The Fighter for the servicemen and women, he toured the 443 acre camp, and he spent days meeting Marines, taking photos, eating with the troops, and even meeting wounded soldiers. It’s all pretty awesome, and some of the photos brought a tear to my eye. Gah! All I need is some schmaltzy patriotism to get me going. Show me a photo of a little girl holding an American flag, waving to someone in uniform, and I’m bawling.
But of course there is another side to it – Mark is promoting The Fighter, which he not only stars in, but produces. He wants the film to make money, and he wants, at the very least, to get Christian Bale an Oscar. Mark would probably also like an Oscar nomination for himself, and maybe Amy Adams too. So there is a dose of “Look, Academy voters, I spent the holidays on a USO tour!” BUT – the awesomeness of Mark spending all of this time in Afghanistan rather than on some beach far outweighs any personal or professional benefit he gets. Plus, I’m sure the troops loved meeting him. I know many of you seem to think he’s a tool, but – just my opinion – he’s maturing into one of the nicest and most professional dudes out there.