Photo Information

Scarlett Johansson smiles after being pinned with gunnery sergeant rank during a meet and greet Jan. 20 in the United Service Organizations building at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The 23-year-old bombshell met with nearly 600 service members at Camp Buehring, Kuwait Jan. 20 during her five-day United Service Organizations (USO) tour to the Gulf region

Photo by Sgt. Bryson K. Jones

Scarlett Johansson boosts morale in Kuwait

20 Jan 2008 | Cpl. Scott M. Biscuiti

If anyone has wondered what can make a battle hardened Marine act like a love-struck high-schooler, the answer is simple—a meet and greet with Scarlett Johansson.

 The 23-year-old bombshell met with nearly 600 service members at Camp Buehring, Kuwait Jan. 20 during her five-day United Service Organizations (USO) tour to the Gulf region.

 Hundreds of Marines and sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit put on their best smiles as they waited anxiously to get a glimpse of the Hollywood actress.

 “I’m a huge Scarlett fan,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan Long, a calibration technician with Marine Medium Helicopter

 Squadron 166 (REIN), 11th MEU. “When I found out she was coming, I couldn’t believe it. All I thought about was that I needed to meet her.”

 A hush fell over the crowd as Johansson, wearing a pink sweater, knee-high boots and cherry-red lipstick, entered the USO. Long’s wait to meet her would end soon.

 Johansson wasted no time after she arrived at the packed USO and headed toward the assembled crowd to introduce herself and meet her peers.

 “It’s important to give people a piece of home and to boost morale,” Johansson said about her visit. “Everybody out here is risking everything, giving us one of the biggest gifts they can. I want to be out here to support them.”

 Johansson’s friendly demeanor and sincere interest in her fans quickly won them over.

 “I didn’t know what to expect or what she was going to be like,” said Sgt. Brian Dryer, a pay agent with the 11th MEU command element. “She seemed truly interested and wanted to spend time getting to know you.”

 The ‘Lost in Translation’ star posed for photos and signed autographs for the eager troops. She signed everything from hats and magazines to unit patches and open hands. A few service members were lucky enough to get a kiss on the cheek.

 “It’s nice to give them a smile in the middle of the day,” she said about her military fans. “If they are missing home, feeling down or worried, hopefully being here will get their minds off of things.”

 Dryer, impressed with Johansson’s genuine personality said he will be on the lookout for her future projects, ‘since she was so cool.’

 “She definitely made a fan out of me,” said the Grand Rapids Mich., native.

 After every fan got their autographs and photos, Johansson donned her sunglasses and stepped outside. She was off to another camp to greet the next group of eager fans.

 In a parting message to the military members, the actress said, “Stay safe. Everybody is thinking of you and waiting for you at home.”


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Colonel Jim W. Lively
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Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
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