ARLINGTON, Va., Jun. 12 – Actors Mike Vogel of the major motion picture “Cloverfield,” Hilarie Burton of The CW’s critically acclaimed hit drama “One Tree Hill” and Eric Mabius of ABC’s award-winning show “Ugly Betty” have wrapped up their USO tour to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as part of a USO entertainment tour June 7-11. This was the first USO tour for the trio, who visited multiple military posts, posed for photos, signed autographs and met one-on-one with service members and their families.
“I am so thrilled to have been a part of this tour,” says Burton. “This trip meant so much to me, having lost a close friend of mine who was serving overseas. I know so many people who are in the military and it is an honor to pay tribute to them. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and thanking the troops in Cuba, and cannot wait to do it again.”
Also personally affected by Operation Iraqi Freedom is Vogel, who learned in May 2007 that his cousin, Sgt. Allen James Dunkley of the U.S. Army, was killed while trying to rescue three kidnapped soldiers in Iraq. Fueled to keep his cousin’s legacy alive and show his support to America’s armed forces, he is on a mission to get more involved with the U.S. military and raise awareness of veterans. In addition to working with the USO and becoming chairman of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, Vogel participated in a series of “Road 2 Recovery” bike rides across the country to help wounded service members along their path to rehabilitation.
“A lot has happened to me and my family over the last few years, as well as to countless other families worldwide,” says Vogel. “And this USO tour truly means a lot to me. It’s my chance to shake the hands of those that sacrifice everyday and extend my gratitude.”
Both of Vogel’s grandfathers fought in World War II, one as a tank commander who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the other as a Seabee. An actor and former model, Vogel made his television debut in early 2000 on Nickelodeon followed by the hit show “Grounded for Life.” In 2005, Vogel continued to win over audiences with roles in such films as “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” opposite Blake Lively, “Havoc” with Anne Hathaway and “Rumor Has It” starring Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner. Adding to his long list of film credits are “Poseidon,” “Caffeine,” “Open Graves,” “The Deaths of Ian Stone” and “Cloverfield.”
Best known for her portrayal of ‘Peyton Sawyer’ on The CW’s “One Tree Hill,” Burton’s big break came when MTV producers offered her a permanent position as “Total Request Live” VJ after serving as a guest commentator for one segment. She then landed a part in the hit TV drama “Dawson’s Creek,” which lead to her current role. In 2004, Burton made her feature film debut in “Our Very Own” featuring Jason Ritter, Cheryl Hines and Allison Janney. She also went on to star in such films as “The List” with Malcolm McDowell and will next be seen in “The Secret Life of Bees,” co-starring Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah and Paul Bettany.
Named one of the sexiest men alive by People Magazine, Mabius is regarded as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors. Best recognized for his current role as the irresistible fashion magazine editor ‘Daniel Meade’ on the breakout hit TV comedy-drama “Ugly Betty,” Mabius began his career in acting in 1995 in the film “Welcome to the Dollhouse” with Heather Matarazzo. Adding to list of film credits are “The Crow: Salvation” opposite Kristen Dunst, “Cruel Intentions” with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon, and “Resident Evil” starring Milla Jovovich. Prior to his current role, he also starred in HBO’s “The L Word” and made TV appearances in “Chicago Hope,” “The O.C.” and “Popular.”
In times of peace and war, the USO consistently delivers its special brand of entertainment and comfort to service men and women. USO tours are essential to fulfilling the USO’s mission of boosting troop morale. In 2007, the USO produced 74 tours and staged 453 special events, to include music concerts, autograph signings, hospital visits and movie screenings.
AT&T, Inc. is the official telecommunications sponsor of USO entertainment tours. For a list of recent and upcoming USO tours, visit www.uso.org/whatwedo/entertainment/. To learn more about the USO and how to support the troops, visit www.uso.org.