Skip to comments.'Terminator' Wows 'Em At Balkans Bases
Posted on 02/12/2002 6:11:24 AM PST by LavaDog
EAGLE BASE, Bosnia and Herzegovina Army Spc. James Miller calmly ate his dinner while he looked at a sight he never dreamed hed see Arnold Schwarzenegger chowing down a few tables away. But there he was the multi-millionaire movie star seated with all the other Joes in a tiny dining facility at tiny Forward Operating Base Connor, deep inside Bosnia.
"They said he was going to be here 40 minutes, sign maybe five or six autographs and go," said Miller, a National Guardsman with the 2nd Battalion, 198th Regiment of the 155th Armored Brigade out of Tupelo, Miss. Instead, the action-adventure, mega-star was an hour into his visit Saturday nearly six hours into a tour of three American SFOR bases and showing no sign of being in any particular hurry.
When he finally rose to leave, Schwarzenegger walked out to the cheers of men and women lining the porch rails of the base exchange, shaking hands as he strolled back to his caravan of three Black Hawk helicopters. As he rounded the corner and stepped into the night, Schwarzenegger suddenly reversed course like hed forgotten something and walked back into the light.
"Hey! Remember," he said. Aahll be baaack!"
The line from his blockbuster "The Terminator" has become a popular catch phrase around the globe. It was that kind of a sound-bite and video day.
Arnold, signing hundreds of autographs at Camp McGovern in his huge, sweeping star signature.
Arnold, firing an M-240B light machine gun.
Arnold, driving an M-3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
Arnold, posing with soldiers at FOB Connor, a quizzical smile appearing when a wise guy poses Muhammed Ali-style, a threatening fist at his stone-solid chin.
Arnold, telling politically incorrect jokes at the jam-packed fest tent at Eagle Base, knowing he was among friends.
The 3,000 or so American troops mostly National Guard troops and Reservist assigned to the Stabilization Force in Bosnia havent been exactly deprived of entertainment. Rock groups and cheerleaders pass through. The Harlem Globetrotters are scheduled to visit this month. "Band of Brothers" author Stephen Ambrose came in December.
But Arnold "is the first Oh, my God! star weve gotten" at McGovern, said Sgt. Christopher Ketterlinus of the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Regiment, 10th Mountain Division out of Ft. Drum, New York. Soldier after soldier ranked him as their favorite of the action-hero triumvirate of Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stalone and Bruce Willis.
"Theres no doubt about it," said Sgt. Anthony Martin, with the 181st Field Artillery at McGovern. Martin said with finality. "Hes No. 1!"
The erstwhile reason for his visit to Bosnia was to promote his new movie, "Collateral Damage." But Schwarzenegger only mentioned the movie briefly before its screening Saturday night. The star appeared on stage at Eagle Bases theater/fest tent with Army Maj. Gen. H Steven Blum, commander of Multi-National Division North.
Earlier at FOB Connor, Schwarzenegger launched into what seemed like an old-fashioned stump speech, stating that he came to the United States from Austria "looking for opportunities to make it, to get rich and famous. And also to become a good human being."
No American, "not Bill Gates, not any kind of business leader or religious leader no one could be successful if it wasnt for you all who protect the U.S," he said.
Schwarzenegger finished by vowing to tell the political elite that they need to give the military the budget it needs: "I play an action hero. You ARE the action heroes."
At which point, one specialist turned to a captain and asked: "Hey, sir, is he runnin for somethin?"
Whatever his reasons for flying in, Schwarzenegger arrived with quite a posse. There was a military general, film crews, still photographers, publicists, a producer, and officials from Morale, Welfare and Recreation and United Service Organizations. They filled three Black Hawks, moving from Eagle Base near Tuzla to Camp McGovern, outside Brcko, then 80 miles south to FOB Connor inside the Republika Srpska.
On the military side, Sgt. Wayne Brenize headed the security team for the man he admired not as a movie star, but as "the godfather of bodybuilding."
Indeed, Brenize said, his group of eight MPs Schwarzeneggers round-the-clock security team was chosen from the 372nd Military Police, 99th Regional Support Command, precisely because theyre body builders. "Were in the gym all the time," the 31-year-old said. "Thats why we got picked."
They needed the bulk because it seemed all 408 people at Camp McGovern turned out, and no one wanted to leave. A few of the soldiers seemed mildly annoyed that at 6-feet-1 inches, Schwarzenegger was somewhat smaller than his 20-foot tall image on multiplex screens.
But far more thought Schwarzenegger was still "The Man." "His chest is the size of my head!" said Spec. Maurice Clay, 21, part of Schwarzeneggers 372nd MP security detachment. Posing with a signed photo of a young muscle-bound Schwarzenegger, Sgt. Thomas Maycock of Headquarters, Headquarters Co., 2nd Battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 10th Mountain, could only smile. For him, the visit "was like Christmas! Like Christmas and all the other days together."
"You know, its pretty nice what hes doing," Maycock said. "No, its GREAT what hes doing."
And before anybody states he's just an actor, I know. And so does he.
However, when patriotism drips from your head to your toes it shows.
Arnie, the American dream personified.
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is shown in a scene from the new action thriller "Collateral Damage" in this undated publicity photograph. Schwarzenegger portrays a firefighter who is plunged into the complex and dangerous world of international terrorism after he loses his wife and child in a bombing. The film opens in the United States February 8, 2002. REUTERS/Warner Bros./Handout
Arnold was not hired for his Shakespearean delivery, though I'll agree that his films have been to the cinema classics what movie theater popcorn and lemonheads are to gourmet food....Even now, I can imagine Arnie as Rick in Casablanca:
Ilsa Lund: But what about us?
[Arnold as] Rick Blaine: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa Lund: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick Blaine: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now... Here's looking at you kid...and remember this: I'll be baackkkk....
I was talking with my parents this weekend about Dirty Harry, which they had purchased on DVD. We discussed the fact that the original choice to play Harry Callahan was Frank Sinatra!
Youse got to ass-kk yourself one question, do I feel lucky, well do ya punk, do be do be do...
If Arnold is not the greatest actor in the galaxy he's at least capable in the right role, and there must have been some classics in which he'd have done well- I can certainly imagine him cast in a role supporting John Wayne, in some of which his accent would not only be no great handicap but would be historically authentic.
And he's given comedy a shot a time or two. And if they ever do a remake of Frankenstein he might just manage a characterization equal to and worthy of Strange and Karloff....
Agreed. He should consider more horror films. He would have been a better Frankenstein's Monster than Deniro (though not as good as Peter Boyle).
Arnold's Terminator and his Conan are classic characters that could have been played by NO ONE else.
And I think "True Lies" is as good an action movie as ever made, and CERTAINLY "wears well." He's making a "TL2."
By the way, for the rest of you non-Arnold haters, I think, if I'm not mistaken, that Schwartzenegger did serve in the Austrian Army, because I think he was drafted.
Arnold did indeed serve most of his full hitch of conscript service in the Austrian army, though it was hardly an auspicious military career: he managedc to drive his US-built M47 tank into an Austrian lake [the story goes that the crew was hoping to avoid having to brush the mud off the tracks by hand] and was later jailed for having gone AWOL from his base to compete as a bodybuilder...it was a little hard to keep his superiors from finding out when he won the competition. They eventually figured they had a better public relations tool than tank driver, and pointed him at the other bodybuilding competitions rather than trusting him with anything so delicate as a 50-ton piece of precision machinery....
Arnold's tank lives on. A few years back, the Austrians sold off their obsolete equipment, and Arnold and his old friend were reunited. It's in a museum in Ohio, and the two old warriors who served their country as best they could, if with spotty results, are still reunited from time to time.
If you're ever cut off in traffic by a tank in the Columbus, Ohio area, don't pick a fight with the driver. It might be the big guy.
TANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
It's pretty tough to stop a tank. It's even tougher to stop Arnold Schwarzenegger. Imagine how hard it is to stop both.
When last we saw and read about Arnold's M-47 Tank in the Fall of 1999, it was just as busy as Arnold. After being unearthed, transported around the world, tracked by satellites, and shipped across country just in time to be a star attraction of an event that helped to raise $150,000 to benefit the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association for Greater Columbus, it remained on display, pleasing crowds at Planet Movies in Columbus, Ohio.
But much like Arnold, it couldn't stay inactive, so it was on the road again. After being one of the star attractions at Planet Movies, its new destination is Motts Military Museum just a few miles away in Groveport, Ohio.
If there is a heaven for tanks, Motts is it. Actually it's heaven for a lot of war memorabilia. Medals, rifles, equipment, flags, uniforms, and, yes, tanks, and many other vehicles all reside at Motts. When Warren Motts, the museum's executive director, first heard of Arnold's tank, he knew it would find a good home at his museum. So he successfully petitioned to have it moved there.
For more details about Motts Military museum, and the tank, stop by www.mottsmilitarymuseum.org. According to Mr. Motts, "The purpose of The Motts Military Museum is to bring military history into its proper perspective by the collection and preservation of personal stories and memorabilia from the men and women who served in our military. "
Motts dedicates itself to the memories of war and the heroism of all veterans. Beginning with the American Revolution and spanning our history all the way to NASA, Motts has many rare items on display, all of which were donated by generous veterans or relatives of veterans who felt the world would benefit from its public viewing.
One visit, and you will understand why Arnold gave it the thumbs up as his tank's newest home. When Arnold visited the museum, he met many of the museum's staff, including Warren Motts. Arnold told Warren many stories about what he and the tank had been through together. After posing for a few publicity photos, together, Arnold and Warren decided to take the tank out for a spin. Arnold drove... of course!
Imagine going about your daily routine, running errands, getting some groceries maybe, and, then, as you are sitting at a traffic signal, a giant, olive green M-47 Patton Tank rumbles through the intersection, with 3 men (Jim Gavorcik, Paul Wachter, and Warren Motts) all sitting on top, riding along. Then you notice a fourth man poking his head out of the driver's hatch. He's got a big, warm grin that seems strangely familiar. You suddenly realize its Arnold Schwarzenegger driving that behemoth!
You wait for the camera truck that you are sure must be following it, but none comes. Well, you decide, "you don't see that every day". But what you can see every day is Arnold's Tank at Motts Military Museum in Columbus, Ohio!
"I want to be the best-built man in the world!"
Hearing this from their 13-year-old son, Gustav and Aurelia Schwarzenegger just sighed and shook their heads. They'd always had their suspicions, but now those suspicions had been confirmed. They started to look for "psychiatrist" in the Graz Yellow Pages.
But Arnold was serious. At 14, he started an intensive training program with Kurt Marnul, the former Mr. Austria. At 15, he studied psychology with Dr. Karl Gerstl to learn more about the power of mind over body. At 17, he officially started his competitive career. And at 18, he got thrown in jail.
OK, so getting arrested wasn't exactly part of the original plan, but in many ways it couldn't be avoided. Here's what happened: As a good citizen of Austria, Arnold was required by law to serve a year in the army. Fine, he started serving. He was assigned to be a tank driver. Fine, he started tanking. He was forbidden to leave the base to compete in any stupid bodybuilding competitions. Fine, he wouldn't leave the base to compete in any stupid bodybuilding competitions. But, hey, they didn't say anything about smart bodybuilding competitions, did they? So one day, he slipped out of camp, hopped a train to Stuttgart, and -- quite smartly -- won a trophy.
When his commanding officers found out, they went ballistic. Before he could say two words in his defense, they threw him behind bars. His sentence: seven long days in the big house. But a funny thing happened during that week. The same officers that put him in there started looking at the trophy he won. It wasn't just a little one. It wasn't just a big one. It was the biggest one in all of Europe. Arnold had won Mr. Europe Junior!
So naturally, after the hardened criminal had served out his time, he was ceremoniously stripped of his tank driving duties. For his "punishment", he was re-assigned to be an official -- well, um -- bodybuilder. Surprised, Arnold tried his best to look sad, and proceeded to spend the rest of his military career training for competition.
After he left the army, it seemed like nothing could stop him. In 1966, he stepped up from the junior division and started competing in the big leagues. Too soon? Think again. That same year, he won The Best Built Man in Europe, Mr. Europe, and the International Powerlifting Championship. Not bad, for a 19-year-old.
Then, figuring he was on a roll, he flew to London to compete in the Mr. Universe competition. This was it for Arnold. Forget Mr. Europe. Forget Mr. America. This was Mr. Universe! If he could win this title, he'd definitely be the best-built man on Earth. (And on Mars, Venus, and Pluto, for that matter.)
Upon his arrival, he was mobbed by other bodybuilders and fans from around the world. They had all been reading about the young Austrian Oak. It was a heady experience. It was the first time he realized that he was becoming internationally famous. And now, here he was at the Mr. Universe contest. He was pumped. He was ready.
He was slammed. By an American named Chet Yorton, who not only had muscles and moves, he also had definition. More than just a mountain of meat, he had chiseled his body into a work of art.
So, the next year, Arnold worked like a sculptor. Analyzing every part of his massive frame, he invented new exercises to separate and define the muscle groups. Then, in 1967, he flew to London to compete in the Mr. Universe contest for the second time. With his new, incredibly buff and polished body, he knew he could beat Yorton.
But wouldn't you know it? Now there was a new contender on the scene. Dennis Tinnerino, who had just won the Mr. America competition, was in town. Everybody -- even Arnold's closest friends -- thought that Tinnerino had him beat. But Schwarzenegger thought otherwise. The morning of the competition, Tinnerino casually asked him how he felt. In response, the young Terminator leaned forward, locked him with his eyes, and smiled that patented crocodile smile. "Fantastic!" he whispered, "It's the kind of day when you know you're going to win." (Was that a gulp, Dennie?)
That was the day when Arnold learned that you had to have more than just a massive frame and totally tweaked muscles to win. You also had to have the strongest will. Because even though Tinnerino pulled off an incredible performance and had a magnificent body, Schwarzenegger blew him right off the stage. At just 20 years old, he was the youngest Mr. Universe in history. Arnold had accomplished his dream.
Or so he thought. Soon, he learned that there were actually three Mr. Universes. Arnold had won the National Amateur Bodybuilding Association title in the amateur division. But there was also a professional division. To complicate matters further, the International Federation of Bodybuilding had a Mr. Universe competition of their own. He also discovered that there was a Mr. World title and a Mr. Olympia title. If he really wanted to accomplish his dream of being the best-built man in the world, he would have to win them all!
Most other men would have packed it in. But Arnold just packed his bags and flew back to Munich to train some more. It was an incredibly intense period of his life. Besides putting in four to six hours a day in weight training, he was also going to business school, managing his health club, and trying to remember what the word "sleep" meant.
But the hard work paid off. In 1968, he flew back to London and easily won the other Mr. Universe trophy. Now he had both the NABBA Mr. Universe Amateur and Professional titles. He also won the German Powerlifting Championship and the IFBB Mr. International in Mexico. But he still needed the Mr. Olympia title.
So, at 21, he moved to California to train with some of the best bodybuilders in the world. He was 6 feet 2 inches tall, 250 pounds, and had bigger measurements than anyone else in the business. He'd studied with a dancer and now moved like a big jungle cat. He'd taken charge of his music and lighting and had a posing performance that was second to none. He was pumped, he was chiseled, he was bronzed from the sun. He looked like Michelangelo's David with a tan. (Well, not exactly like David. Arnold always wore posing trunks.)
Over the next two years, he flew all over the world, winning new titles and defending the ones he already held. In 1969, he won the IFBB Mr. Universe - Amateur in New York and the NABBA Mr. Universe - Professional in London. In 1970, he again won the NABBA Mr. Universe - Professional in London and the Mr. World in Columbus, Ohio. At the end of the year, he had every title except Mr. Olympia. And Sergio Oliva had been winning and successfully defending that title since 1967.
So now, it was down to two people. Everybody in bodybuilding knew it. And it all came down to one event -- the 1970 Mr. Olympia competition in New York. Arnold had prepared for this moment all his life. He was ready and he knew it. He didn't even bother to pump up like Sergio. He just focused himself. And with just two minutes left before he had to go on stage, he changed and oiled up.
The atmosphere was so supercharged that the police had to keep fans from rushing the stage. There definitely were two camps in the audience -- each chanting the name of their favorite. But in the end, there was only one winner, one trophy, and one name: Schwarzenegger.
And so, in 1970, at the age of 23, he had achieved what he'd set out to accomplish just 10 years earlier. He was, by any and every measure, the best-built man in the world. And he would continue to hold that crown for many years to come. He won an unprecedented seven Mr. Olympia titles before he retired. And the only reason he retired was that he had begun acting in motion pictures and now he had a new goal -- to be the most popular film star in the world.
Hearing this, his parents just sighed and started flipping through the Yellow Pages again.
1965 Mr. Europe - Junior (Germany)
1966 Best Built Man of Europe (Germany)
1966 Mr. Europe (Germany)
1966 International Powerlifting Championship (Germany)
1967 NABBA Mr. Universe - Amateur (England)
1968 NABBA Mr. Universe - Professional (England)
1968 German Powerlifting Championship (Germany)
1968 IFBB Mr. International (Mexico)
1969 IFBB Mr. Universe - Amateur (USA)
1969 NABBA Mr. Universe - Professional (England
) 1970 NABBA Mr. Universe - Professional (England)
1970 Mr. World (USA)
1970 IFBB Mr. Olympia (USA)
1971 IFBB Mr. Olympia (France)
1972 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Germany)
1973 IFBB Mr. Olympia (USA)
1974 IFBB Mr. Olympia (USA)
1975 IFBB Mr. Olympia (South Africa)
1980 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Australia)
But it was to a couple of my German navy pals, who dragged me along to watch, and I was indeed at least as impressed as I was with Olympic weightlifters. And yes, it's genuine competition, and sport, or at least was then.
It's difficult, though, to imagine it set on stage as an act, but interesting that some of its participants have moved from that venue to the stage or screen. But I'd think that directly-related roles would be few and far between, and that though such parts might open the door for such a career, a fella might starve to death between jobs waiting for them.
|Here are the pictures from the article.
Spc. Paul Nieman watches as Arnold Schwarzenegger draws down an M-4 assault carbine equipped with a night-vision scope and grenade launcher during a visit to Camp McGovern in Bosnia.
I have to say, rarely does karma nail someone so well as ol' Arkan.
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