Cher visits wounded servicemembers at Landstuhl
Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, July 13,
Germany — An overflow crowd gathered in
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s
Heaton Auditorium late Wednesday
afternoon to see a living legend in
singer/actress whose popularity and
looks have spanned generations, spent
hours Wednesday afternoon visiting with
wounded troops and thanking the
Landstuhl staff for the job they
“I’ve been to
Walter Reed (Army Medical Center),” she
said. “I’ve been to Bethesda (home to
the National Naval Medical Center). Now
coming here, I have to tell you
something ... You guys are unbelievable.
I see the best care, the most heartfelt
Cher, who says
she is against the war in Iraq but
supports the troops, has long been a
morale booster for troops. Seventeen
years ago, she recorded the video for
“If I Could Turn Back Time” on the deck
of the USS Missouri, while wearing a
barely-there outfit surrounded by
throngs of sailors.
Recently, she donated $130,000 to
Operation Helmet, an organization that
buys troops helmet linings that protect
against concussive blasts. Just last
month, Cher appeared before the House
Armed Services Committee supporting an
effort for better military helmets.
Oscar-winning actress told Wednesday’s
crowd that she was ordered to visit the
hospital by Landstuhl Commander Col.
Bryan Gamble when the two met recently
at Walter Reed. She decided to make the
trip and traveled from France on
Wednesday to the hospital.
roughly an hour visiting seriously
wounded troops in the intensive care
unit before going to the hospital’s
other wings. Once outside the ICU,
nearly everywhere she went fans armed
with digital cameras and pens pleaded
for photos and autographs.
Garcia, a head nurse of two wings at
Landstuhl, managed to snap a few
pictures of Cher.
“She is a
high-power woman,” Garcia said. “We’re
very fortunate that she’s speaking out
for us. These sorts of things, people
coming here, have such a big impact on
all the soldiers — not only on the
workers and staff, but the patients as
made a big impact on Spc. Hollis
Richardson, who is recovering from
rocket-propelled grenade injuries
suffered in a July 9 attack north of
Baghdad. The svelte singer slid into bed
with Richardson, to snap a photo, which
Cher then signed.
“It’s kind of
nice to have supporters and have people
come by who actually care,” said
Richardson, 22, of Fort Worth, Texas.
“She’s just trying to cheer people up in
a situation that’s not too cheerful.”
Asked if he
had any favorite Cher song, Richardson
said he’d have to work on that.
little bit before my time,” he said. “I
may have to go pick up a CD or two now.”
On Thursday, Cher planned to visit the
medical holding facility for the walking
wounded at Kleber Kaserne and the
Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility
at Ramstein Air Base.