Following his 10th trip with USO, “NCIS” star Wilmer Valderrama recaps his latest visits to military bases worldwide.
While speaking to the organization, Wilmer Valderrama, who is a USO global ambassador, said his favorite audience is the American military. He recalled growing up in Venezuela, where he would watch Bob Hope’s USO Christmas Shows. “I dreamed of the day where I could pay it forward like he did,” the “NCIS” star explained.
USO also revealed that Wilmer Valderrama was first inspired to go on a tour in the early 2000s. He was approached by two service members at an airport who had told him they enjoyed his hit sitcom “That ‘70s Show”. They told the actor they watched it while being deployed in the Middle East. That was then the actor decided to start looking into how he could give back and visit troops overseas. He went on his first USO tour in 2007 with fellow USO Global Ambassador, Kellie Pickler.
“Touring with Kellie Pickler is amazing,” Wilmer Valderrama recalled. “She just loves being on the stage for the reason that she’s on that stage … and she’ll do anything it takes to provide a smile, to warm a heart to have great conversations [with service members]. We’ve become very close [on tour], she’s like a sister now. And the fact that we both can serve as USO Global Ambassadors of the USO is just unbelievable.”
While reflecting on his USO trips, Wilmer Valderrama shared, “In my many [USO] shows, meeting thousands of soldiers and hearing all of their stories … I really got to appreciate the type of individual that it takes to wear that uniform. I was very humbled by the men and women, their bravery, their selflessness, the sacrifice. And that’s the thing that I’ll always remember.”
‘NCIS’ Star Wilmer Valderrama Says the USO Has Changed Everything For Himself
Along with discussing his USO trips, “NCIS” star Wilmer Valderrama shared how the organization changed everything for him.
“When I came to the United States with a dream as an immigrant,” the actor explained. “And I came to really appreciate the American flag and understand that anything can happen when you’re here. That the American dream is real. And Ir realized very quickly who was responsible for that.”
Wilmer Valderrama said he wanted to do anything possible in his life to pay it forward to those who served in the military. “So the USO has created a vessel for me to continue to pay it forward to this beautiful country. And, you know, the least I can do is just show up and provide a smile – I mean, that is the most rewarding thing you can do as a performer.”