By Pvt. Michael YbarraJuly 5, 2019
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania-- Members of NBC's sports reality show "American Gladiators" visited Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, July 4, 2019. The Gladiator's visit, coordinated by Armed Forces Entertainment, is part of a tour across Europe to entertain and boost the morale of service members overseas by interacting with them and participating in various athletic competitions and activities. Since 2008, the Gladiators have been on different tours to visit military bases across the world.
"We've been in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Guantanamo Bay, Honduras, everywhere,"said Alex "Militia" Castro, American Gladiator. "Everywhere they have a base overseas, we go there, interact with the troops and bring a little feeling of home."
The event at MKAB included games and competitions that simulate the ones on the show, such as a dodgeball tournament, a game of air assault, where participants must avoid being hit by water balloons thrown by the Gladiators, as well as several pugil stick and tug-o-war matches. On top of participating in the festivities, the Gladiators also take the time to speak personally with the service members during meet and greets.
"It's really a great opportunity for us to give thanks, and just meet everybody one on One," said Valerie "Siren" Waugaman-Gal, American Gladiator. "Anything we can do to get personal is really special to us."
With every service member they speak to, the Gladiators are given the chance to listen to and understand the experiences of those serving overseas.
"Hearing the stories about a lot of things they've been through, that's one of the reasons why we're here, to get close and personal with them," said Militia.
The Gladiators also get the opportunity to witness and learn about the different jobs and tasks that each service member has.
"Just seeing them in their craft, teaching us about their equipment, it's something they take pride in," said Siren. "So we love just seeing them in their element."
At every station they visit, the Gladiators show their support of American troops and their allies through their interactions.
"They are the reason we can do what we do back home, because they make us safe," said Militia. "We know it's not easy, them being away from their families, and doing what they have to do while we have the freedom we enjoy in America, and we want to say thanks to all of them."
The American Gladiators tour is scheduled to continue for three more events July 5 at Naval Support Facility Deveselu, Romania, July 7 at Naval Support Facility Naples, Italy, and July 9 at Morón Air Base, Spain.