After a (probably exaggerated) controversy about actor Vince Vaughn shaking hands and conversing with President Donald Trump during the college football national championship game Monday, an Iraq War veteran told the Daily Caller about how Vaughn took the time to visit troops in a dangerous war zone where no other celebrities would go.
The story comes from Colby Smith, a combat medic for the scout platoon of 108th Armor, 48th Combat Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, who said Vaughn visited in 2005 after a particularly tragic time for that group, which had just lost nearly a dozen people.
Smith said Vaughn had been warned that the area he was visiting, known as the "triangle of death," was a truly dangerous place to be, but he wanted to go anyway.
"He did this [visit] because he heard that there was no one else coming to see these guys," Smith told the Daily Caller. "And he did."
Vaughn's visit wasn't a typical celebrity appearance, Smith said. Instead, Vaughn simply wanted to spend time with the troops and improve their morale in any way he could. He carried around a sign that one of the service members had made, referencing the movie "Dodgeball," one of Vaughn's most popular roles.
"One of the guys in the unit made a sign that read, 'if you can dodge an IED, you can dodge a ball'," Smith said. "[Vaughn] thought it was great, so he was running around with the sign."
Smith said Vaughn also came to the medic station, just to hang out and play video games with them. That's why, when Vaughn received some criticism for being friendly toward President Trump, it upset Smith.
"I don't care who it is. It would be amazing," Smith said of shaking hands with the president. "And it made me really mad because [Vaughn] was a man who supported me in my endeavors and to me it was a very heroic and amazing thing to do."