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'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' for Dec. 7th

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Vince McMahon; Big Show; Iuni Savusa; Triple H; Ashley; Chuck Kilbridge; Jack Kilbridge;>

ANNOUNCER:  LIVE AND DIRECT from the war zone in Afghanistan, here is Rita Cosby.

RITA COSBY, HOST:  And you are looking at the best fighting force in the world, the U.S. military!  It is 9:00 PM Wednesday night in the East Coast of America, 6:30 Thursday morning here at Bagram Airfield.  And we are LIVE AND DIRECT from Afghanistan.

Hello, everybody.  I am Rita Cosby (INAUDIBLE) Bagram Air Base.  And we‘re thrilled to be here.  I came here with the WWE, the World Wrestling Entertainment, some superstars from the wrestling world.  But the real superstars are the men and the women that you see here behind me.  It‘s about 30 degrees, the sun is coming up.  It‘s going to be a beautiful day here in Afghanistan.  We‘ve been here a little bit less than 24 hours.  We‘re going to show you what we went through.

But first, I want to talk to some of the brave men and women here fighting on the front lines.  How are you holding up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right, ma‘am.

COSBY:  Where are you from?  And what‘s your rank?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sergeant Stephen Kellogg (ph), Salem, Oregon.

COSBY:  What do you want to say to somebody at home who‘s watching?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi, Joanne!  I love you.

COSBY:  You going to be here for the holidays?


COSBY:  You glad we‘re here, giving some cheer, hopefully, to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, ma‘am.  Thank you.

COSBY:  What‘s your rank?


COSBY:  And what do you want to say to anybody at home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I want to say hi to my mom, my dad and my sisters.  I love you all, and miss you, too.

COSBY:  Getting a little choked up.  You‘re going to get some smiles when you see these wrestlers.  They‘re terrific.

How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m pretty good.

COSBY:  What‘s your rank and where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Captain John McGuire (ph) from Washington state.

COSBY:  And what do you want to say to anybody at home who‘s watching?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Say, Hi, Mom.  I love you.

COSBY:  Well, we love you guys.  And of course, they‘re not the only big guests (ph) right here.  We want to bring out—you guys ready for this? -- none other than the WWE chairman, Vince McMahon and “The Big Show” superstar wrestler.  “Big Show”—wait until you see this guy!  Come on out.

Hey!  Hey!  And we also have with us here Sergeant First Class Rick Scavetta, who‘s been with us.  You‘ve been taking good care of us since we were at the base.

Let me first start with you guys.  Vince McMahon, what do you think of Afghanistan?  We‘ve been here about 24 hours.

VINCE MCMAHON, WWE CHAIRMAN:  Well, first of all, let me start with a good morning.




MCMAHON:  Let‘s try that one more time and hear a “Good morning, sir.” 

Good morning!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Good morning, sir!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Good morning, sir!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Good morning, sir!

MCMAHON:  I like that a whole lot better.

COSBY:  Good responses, guys!  What do you think about—you know, we went up—we were in the Blackhawk.  We were in the Chinook nearby.  What were your impressions, first impressions of this place?

MCMAHON:  Well, actually, it‘s a beautiful country, if you like rugged country.  Other than that, you know, it‘s hardship over here.  I mean, and their job is getting done, and that‘s the important message to get back home.

COSBY:  What‘s your impressions of these troops?  These guys are terrific.

MCMAHON:  We love them, OK?  The men and women here are just—they‘re dedicated.  They‘re passionate about what they do.  And again, they‘re getting the job done, and all we‘re here is simply to say thank you to all you guys and gals.  That‘s what we‘re here to do, is say thank you.

COSBY:  “Big Show”—and this guy is truly a big show!  Let‘s do a pan, if we could, from foot to...


COSBY:  First of all, how big are you?

“BIG SHOW,” WWE SUPERSTAR:  I‘m 7-1, about 510, 511.

COSBY:  Can any of you guys over here take you out?

“BIG SHOW”:  Sure.  (INAUDIBLE) I‘m easy. (INAUDIBLE) you know, hand holding, conversation.  I‘m easy.

COSBY:  And there are—I think—I think any one of you could take

could take you out.  What do you—what do you guys think?

“BIG SHOW”:  I‘m not bulletproof.

COSBY:  What are your impressions?  You know, it‘s been great traveling with you.  You guys—we were on the Chinook yesterday.  And when you come out—and we went to the forward operating base and some of these remote operations, those guys, just to see their faces.  What did it mean to you?  And what do you think it meant to them to see these soldiers?

“BIG SHOW”:  Well, you know, it‘s awesome feeling for me.  I mean, I‘m just, you know, a regular everyday kind of guy, and compared to these men and women out here—I have so much respect for each and every one of them to—you know, to do what they do, to go through the hardships they go through.  I mean, let‘s face it, I‘m a pansy compared to the mental toughness and fortitude that these men and women have to rough it—I mean, my feet hurt walking on rocks yesterday.  These guys are out here every day, so I think I‘m the Sally (ph) of the group.  What do you think?


COSBY:  And you know what?  We saw you trying to put on a flack jacket.  It took a couple of them, right, it was about four or five of them to cover you?

“BIG SHOW”:  Well, I‘m actually—I‘m doing the new-style—I‘m doing the flack jacket, you know, brassiere.


“BIG SHOW”:  It‘s real sporty for summertime.  Looks real good.  Then I have, like, you know, the little kevlar, you know, just in case.  I just want to keep the little bald spot covered back here.  So—yes, some of the equipment doesn‘t fit, but all in all, all that aside, you know, if I had to roll over here barefoot and in my underwear and freeze to death, it wouldn‘t matter.  Just to see these men and women is worth it all.

COSBY:  Now, we got a shot of you going into the Humvee, squeezing into that Humvee, that huge Humvee, everybody, as you guys all know.  And then you also got to fire some rounds.  What did that feel like?  This is what these guys are doing every day.

“BIG SHOW”:  Well, you know, honestly, for me personally, shooting nine rounds on the side of a target or the side of a mountain, yes, it‘s exhilarating.  You feel the power of the weapon.  But you know what?  I have so much deep down respect for you all, the men and women in the services, because they have to control that kind of power.  They‘re amongst themselves.  They‘re amongst unfriendly people, you know, and they have people shooting back at them, you know?  And it—and they‘re out there every day.  They‘re doing it.  They‘re doing it well.  And they‘ve got hearts of steel.  I mean, I‘d curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb.  It‘d be all over.


COSBY:  And Vince, you know, you looked really moved yesterday when these troops came out.  It was a great feeling.  You got a big cheer.  But yesterday, those young boys—we went to this remote region.  It took about an hour to go by chopper.  And you‘re—here‘s this tough guy.  You‘re getting teary-eyed when they just came up to you and hugged you.


“BIG SHOW”:  You got teary-eyed?

COSBY:  You did!

“BIG SHOW”:  You got—no way!


COSBY:  I think we have video of it.


COSBY:  But what did it feel to be out there and just be received like that?

MCMAHON:  It‘s an exhilarating feeling for us.  You know, I mean, so many people say, It‘s really great, what you do for the troops, and all of that.  But this is bigger than “Wrestlemania” for us, which is our biggest event of the year.  And every year, we have the privilege of coming over and performing before the men and women of the armed forces, and it just feels so good just to shake hands and look in their faces and put a smile on their face.  I mean, I think we get, quite frankly, far more out of it than they do.

COSBY:  Yes, and they‘re treating you like the general, they‘re so thrilled to see you here.

MCMAHON:  It‘s a treat for me.

COSBY:  Let me—Sergeant First Class, what are the troops getting out of this?  What was the anticipation at this base?

SGT. RICK SCAVETTA, COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE 76:  Oh, people were waiting for you guys to come.  And they‘re so excited that the wrestlers are here.  They‘re actually excited that you‘re here, Rita.  The folks who are out there in eastern Afghanistan—you went to visit the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines out of Hawaii, and they were so excited.  They don‘t get a lot of visitors.  They‘re out there in a tough fight right now.  You know, you‘ve seen the mountains.  You saw the terrain.  And to get visitors and folks come out and just pay a little attention to them means a lot, especially around the holidays.

COSBY:  You know, some of the areas that we went to particularly yesterday, as you point out, rough terrain, one of the areas, Asadabad (ph), is a pretty big target, too.  I mean, this was—this was right—it was, what, about a mile from Pakistan.

SCAVETTA:  You are in the Hindu Kush mountains.  It‘s a tough fight with the enemy.  The guys are out there taking the fight.  Even as winter sets in, they‘re going after the enemy, to kill and capture the enemy.  At the same time, we also have other soldiers and service members out there doing reconstruction efforts, helping the people out by reconstruction efforts.  So it‘s a dual fight.  You got Marines out there fighting the enemy, and you have soldiers and other service members helping people out.

COSBY:  Well, it‘s great to see.

And all of you, stick with us, because when I came over with Mr.

McMahon, also with “Big Show,” all the wrestlers, it‘s not an easy trip.  It was a long journey.  We took a cargo plane here.  Started in Charleston Air Force Base.  We want to show you our journey, the long journey to get to Afghanistan.


(voice-over):  We left Charleston, South Carolina, in the wee hours of the morning, 18 oversized wrestlers and WWE management all loaded into a jam-packed C-17 cargo plane en route to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and ultimately, Afghanistan.

(on camera):  You‘re one of the pilots.


COSBY:  How bumpy of a ride are we going to have tonight?

WALLS:  Well, since it‘s evening time on the way over, I‘m predicting that the ride will be fairly smooth.

COSBY:  So a C-17 is going to be smooth?  We‘re going to be strapped in.  Where‘s the best place to sleep?  If you look over here, there‘s not a lot of room.

WALLS:  Well, you‘ll have to be creative with yourself with that.

“JBL,” WWE SUPERSTAR:  Rita, seriously, you need to be very, very quiet.  He‘s hunting (ph) his cheeseburgers.

COSBY:  How many seats does he have?

“JBL”:  You can‘t really tell.  He‘s actually taking up four seats.  We‘re doing a special operation drop when we get to Afghanistan.  It‘s called Operation Dumbo Drop, and we‘re going to have a cargo plane actually drop him in the middle of the desert.

COSBY:  This is “Big Show,” who‘s 500 pounds.

“JBL”:  He must have lost weight.

COSBY:  What do you think Afghanistan is going to be like?

RIC FLAIR, WWE SUPERSTAR:  Well, I saw the Rambo movies, so I‘ve seen Afghanistan.  I think it‘s going to be not a whole bunch to look at, but with a bunch of great people that are helping to make our world a better place to live in.

“COACH,” WWE SUPERSTAR:  A lot of people wouldn‘t make this trip, but we‘re excited to make this trip.  And a lot of people would complain about riding in a plane like this.  We‘re excited to be in a plane like this.

COSBY:  You‘re a big guy.  How do you fit?

SHELTON BENJAMIN, WWE SUPERSTAR:  Oh, you know, I‘m a big guy, but I‘m flexible.  You know what?  For the most part, you just kind of try to have as much fun and wear yourself out, so that it doesn‘t matter what position you‘re in, you‘ll fall asleep.  So right now, I‘m in the wear-down process.


COSBY:  And when we left Charleston Air Force Base, then we took, as you saw, about an eight-hour cargo plane ride all the way to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.  Then we went to Landstuhl Medical Center.  This place is really incredible.  This is where all the guys and women who‘ve been injured, many of them very, very severely, are being treated.  These are the guys who are right there on the front lines.  What happens, they get taken from in theater.  They‘re brought to Landstuhl, and that is where they‘re treated.  So the WWE wrestlers and I went there.  It was quite incredible.

One story really touched us, that of a young soldier who lost 10 of his comrades in Fallujah just a few days ago.  He‘s the lucky one.  He survived.


What happened to you?

HR CORPSMAN WILLIAM JORDAN, 2/7D FOX COMPANY:  I was involved in an IED attack.

COSBY:  And that was an attack on December 1, where 10 Marines lost their lives.


COSBY:  What do you remember about that day?

JORDAN:  We hit (INAUDIBLE)  We did the whole day.  And then one of my buddies and two other guys that were on my team for a while were getting promoted later that day.  As I was walking over, I remember, all of a sudden, I was knocked to the ground, and I couldn‘t move my leg or my right arm.  And there was Lance Corporal Kendall (ph) was right next to me.  And he told me that I was hit, hit by something.

LANCE CPL. MICHAEL LARSON, 2/7D FOX COMPANY:  After the IED blast, I was knocked out momentarily, and I woke up with his hand in mine, actually.  And so I...

COSBY:  With his hands?

LARSON:  Yes, ma‘am.  And so, obviously, I was able to go to work on him right away.  And that‘s just my job as a corpsman, you know?  We‘re supposed to stabilize Marines or whoever the patient may be until we can get them back to a medical facility.

COSBY:  What does it mean for to you hear this guy‘s story?

“ASHLEY,” WWE SUPERSTAR:  It was very sad.  You know, I feel for him greatly.  You know, all of them, and like I said, I just feel really lucky that we go got to come and meet them and...

COSBY:  It meant a lot to you personally.

“ASHLEY”:  It meant a lot to me.

COSBY:  You‘re going to remember this a long time?

“ASHLEY”:  Definitely.

“COACH”:  It does get emotional because you hear them say—I think the first guy said it to us, you know, Thanks for coming because you‘re bringing home to us.  And we love America.  You know, we love the United States of America.  And they choose to come over here, you know?  And we‘re back home.  We‘re going to perform.  We‘re going to do what we do.  We‘re getting to live life.  And at this point, they—it doesn‘t matter what we do, what any of us do.  You know, we live life, and they‘re over here not living their lives.  They‘re fighting while we‘re living our lives.  And you forget about it because, like you say, you see it on the news, you don‘t see the person.


COSBY:  And right now, you can see that “Big Show” and Vince McMahon signing a few autographs to several hundred people over here who want them.  What a big thrill for the folks here.  And the big question is, everybody, where do things stand on the war on terror?  We‘re going to talk about Osama bin Laden, we‘re going to talk about these troops when we come back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Happy holidays from Afghanistan!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Happy holidays from Afghanistan!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Happy holidays from Afghanistan!



COSBY:  How happy are you about U.S. troops coming in and liberating your country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We are very happy because they protect us, and you know, rebuild our country and, you know, finish al Qaeda, Taliban bad guys.  So we are very happy.


COSBY:  And the Afghans, in addition to that, also know the names of the wrestlers.  It was funny yesterday because some of the local Afghans said, You know, I like “Big Show” or I like “Triple-H.”  And it was very cute to see how far this country really has come.  It is, of course, thanks to the real heroes who “Big Show” is congratulating right now, the men and women of the U.S. military.  We‘ve got all the different branches represented here today, with us in the wee hours of the morning here as the sun is coming up in Bagram Airfield.

Of course, what are these men and women facing in the field?  How tough is it on the front lines?  Where is Osama bin Laden, and where do we stand on the war on terror?  Let‘s bring ourselves up to speed.


(voice-over):  Four years after the liberation of Afghanistan, the battle against the Taliban is far from over.  In fact, in recent months, Afghanistan has seen a sharp increase in violence.  At least 87 U.S. troops have been killed since January, nearly half the total since the war began.

GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, U.S. ARMY (RET.):  The Taliban, there‘s no question, are trying to infiltrate the cities, Kabul, Kandahar.  And there clearly are also some foreign fighters with, you know, commercial communications gear, with shiny new weapons.  So we ought to be concerned about it.

COSBY:  U.S. troops say they‘re fighting a more aggressive and better organized enemy than before, and they blame much of it on foreign fighters bringing Iraq-style tactics into the country, including roadside bombings and suicide attempts.

BRIG. GEN. JAMES CHAMPION, COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE 76:  That is the one thing that‘s kind of got us perplexed a little bit, but I think it‘s, again, a sense of—a sign of desperation on the part of the insurgency.  Whenever we‘ve had face-to-face fights with them or we‘ve been able to engage them, we have defeated them decisively every single time.

COSBY:  About 18,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in Afghanistan.  They‘re supported by about 10,000 NATO-led forces.  In the next year, the international community is expected to take a bigger role, adding 6,000 more troops and replacing U.S. forces in some of the most dangerous zones in southern Afghanistan.

MCCAFFREY:  I think the Afghans are extremely worried about it.  They trust the coalition forces, meaning principally U.S., to carry out combat actions when required and to be hard-nosed in dealing with the Taliban.

COSBY:  But it may be some time before the country is free from the Taliban and al Qaeda.  Despite this, U.S. leaders still view Afghanistan is a clear victory in the war on terror.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:  I think the people who serve in Afghanistan will look back in 5 or 10 years with a great deal of pride in what they‘ve contributed and the fact that they‘ve liberated 25 million people.


COSBY:  And you‘re looking live now here at Bagram Airfield, wee hours of the morning, but these guys are up early, as they always are in the U.S.  military.

I want to bring in now one of the real heroes here in Afghanistan, Command Sergeant Major Savusa.  He‘s head of the joint task force here overseeing a lot of the operations in Afghanistan.  First of all, you‘ve got a big job.


I‘ve got the easiest part of this whole deal.  These soldiers and sailors, airmen Marines who are carrying the fight out, to include our coalition forces who are carrying the fight out here.

COSBY:  How tough is the enemy?  How developed, how intricate and how dangerous is it for you guys?

SAVUSA:  Well, every time you‘re in situations like this, you always got a good fight up your—up your alley, but you can‘t ask for a better and more dedicated, committed soldiers, airmen and Marines who can take this fight to the enemy.  We‘re in some tough terrain, very austere environment that we‘re in.  But we have been trained to do this fight and how to carry this fight out to the enemy, and we‘re winning.  We‘re actually winning this fight, and we‘re—and you know, our celebrities who were here yesterday that can vouch for that in how they—the soldiers out there reacted to them and how the fight is going.

COSBY:  Where does it stand?  You know, one of the things I‘m hearing is that you guys are also now moving out.  You‘re actually going after them a little more aggressively, too.  But on the other hand, I‘m also hearing that, you know, violence is escalating.  It‘s still a tough battle.

SAVUSA:  Well, it is.  But again, we‘re—we‘ve gone out to where our coalition forces have never been to before.  And that‘s part of it, is extending the reach of the Afghan government and helping them—and helping them taking the—taking all the aid out to the people have never been a part of this government.  It‘s—like I said, it‘s a tough terrain out there where they‘re at.  And we‘re going all the way out there—to not only from taking the fight out to them, but reconstruction and everything else to help the government over in Afghanistan.

COSBY:  Well, you can tell a lot of the Afghanis that I talked to yesterday were so excited to see the U.S. military here and felt very good about you guys.  Everyone at home, of course, is wondering—Osama bin Laden.  Is there any development?  Is he still possibly hiding in the hills of Pakistan, Afghanistan?

SAVUSA:  Well, if I knew—if we knew where Osama bin Laden is, we would have had him by now.  But what‘s more important is that our soldiers, sailors and airmen and Marines are out there carrying the fight out to the enemy right as we speak.

COSBY:  How‘s the morale of the soldiers overall?

SAVUSA:  Morale is great.  As you can tell from the morale of these troops here with us, they‘re committed to the fight.  They‘re dedicated to what they‘re here to do.  And you know, again, we will continue this fight until we are relieved in place by the next units that are coming in and do this job until it‘s done.

COSBY:  Well, you‘re doing a great job, and we‘re very proud to be here.  Command Sergeant Major, thank you very much.

I am going to go interview Santa Claus over here because he‘s got a big hat on.  You want to come over with me, Command Sergeant Major?  How are you holding up, first of all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m doing great.  Thank you.

COSBY:  Where are you from?  Tell us and folks at home.  What do you want to say to them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just want to say hi to my wife, Sarah, tell her I love her and miss her very much, and my daughter, Emma, and my son, Charlie.  And I‘m from Lake Oswego, Oregon.

COSBY:  How tough is it being away this holiday season?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s real tough.  I wouldn‘t want to be anywhere but home right now.  But we‘re here...

COSBY:  What do you want to say about just the tenacity of the troops and how proud you are?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, we‘re tough here.  We‘re doing a great job, and our team is just—you know, we‘re as prepared as we could ever be.  We‘re real glad to be here.  Thank you.

COSBY:  Well, we‘re really glad you‘re here, and I‘m glad you got that holiday spirit on.

Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi.  My name‘s Sergeant Robert Bois (ph).  I‘m from Santa Morgan (ph).  I want to say hi to my wife, and I miss her very much.  I‘ll be home soon.

COSBY:  And you definitely will.  You got a good smile there.

Who are you?  What‘s your rank, and where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Specialist Lou Digly (ph).  I‘m from Decatur, Indiana.  I want to say hi to my family.  I miss them this Christmas.

COSBY:  And how old are you?  got a young face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m 24, ma‘am.

COSBY:  How long have you been in the service?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Six-and-a-half years.

COSBY:  How‘s it been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s been great.

COSBY:  What kind of conditions are you living in here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re living outstanding, ma‘am, living in the hangar.

COSBY:  Yes.  And you know what‘s funny?  Good for your attitude.  I‘ve seen the hangar.  When I had to go to the bathroom, by the way, today, I had to walk about a quarter of a mile to go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, everything else because we‘re living in the same conditions you guys are.  How do you keep the spirits up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I talk to my family pretty much on a daily basis and just work hard and have fun with my co-workers.

COSBY:  Well, we‘re proud of you.  And I know your co-workers are. 

Here‘s another co-worker.  How young are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m 20, ma‘am.

COSBY:  You are?  When did you join the service?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, shoot, I was fresh out of high school, ma‘am.

COSBY:  Why did you join?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, college money and wanted to serve.

COSBY:  Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m from the state of Oregon, ma‘am.

COSBY:  And why did you want to be a part of the military?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s a good question, ma‘am.

COSBY:  How‘s it been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s been great, ma‘am.

COSBY:  Very proud of the guys here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, ma‘am.  We have—like my captain over here said, we have a great team, and everybody here is doing a bang-up job, so...

COSBY:  And you got a lot of folks here.  Thank you.  Congrats, everybody.

We‘re going to talk with a lot more of them after the break.  And of course, lots of the superstars here.  Of course, these are the men and the women on the front lines.  But we also have with us a couple guys who are a little bit bigger than me, about seven feet tall, some of them weighing 500 pounds.  We also have another superstar, “Triple-H.”  He‘s known as “The Game.”  He‘s going to be here, one of the biggest and best wrestlers of all time, coming up after the break.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) from Maxwell Gunner Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, originally from Wisconsin.  I just want to say hi and happy holidays to everyone back home.



COSBY:  Hauser (ph) said you guys are not strong enough to pick him up.


COSBY:  And that was a fun moment with the “Big Show. “  And I see he‘s dancing with someone other than me.  Can I cut in?


COSBY:  Although you have a beautiful dancing partner here.  How does it feel—look how big this guy is!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He is really huge.


COSBY:  Have you ever seen a human being this big before?


TRIPLE-H:  This is romantic.


TRIPLE-H:  I‘m a regular seven-foot Rudolph Valentino.

COSBY:  You know what is funny, speaking of being seven-foot tall?  I heard they had to make a bed for you here.

TRIPLE-H:  Yes, they did, actually.  You know, it just goes to show you how great the people are here.  I mean, they really went out of their way and busted their tails and, you know, shipped off half of Oregon‘s lumber to make me a bed.  But it was very nice of them.  I feel very secure sleeping.  Past couple times we‘ve gone over, I‘ve, like, crashed and burned.  And I break furniture all the time, but I feel really safe in the bed I‘m sleeping in now.

COSBY:  How much fun is it for you to entertain these guys?  You know, you get to perform—you‘ve been performing for years.  You‘ve had a lot of great captive audiences.

BIG SHOW:  Been doing it a long time...


COSBY:  But what is it like for you to see the faces of these guys? 

BIG SHOW:  You know what?  It‘s so great, because you know what?  For us, you know, when we normally perform, it‘s very hard for us to interact with our fans on such a personal level. 

You know, out here, these guys, the men and women, have such great senses of humor and personality, I‘m in there, and we‘re telling jokes, and we‘re interacting.  And it‘s such an awesome feeling.  I mean, I‘m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Most of the time, I‘m dreaming about, like, free buffets right now at this time of year.


BIG SHOW:  These guys have been bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and all awake, so it‘s awesome. 

COSBY:  Well, we‘re so thrilled.  We‘re going to be watching this.  Thank you so much for being with us, the Big Show.  Everybody, the Big Show. 


And, you guys, we have more to our show right now.  We have Triple H, one of the best in the business.  Come on out. 


You know, I got to say about this guy, this guy is known as one of the dirtiest, toughest, smartest guys in the ring.  But you have one of the biggest hearts.  You and I, we were in Landstuhl together... 


COSBY:  You saw some of the wounded soldiers.  What was that like for you? 

TRIPLE H:  It was a very emotional experience, you know, to go to a hospital and see the sacrifice that these guys make every day and see it to the extreme, you know?  And I think a lot of people in the U.S. take for granted the freedom that these guys are out here fighting for every day, and they need to understand what these guys go through, and they need to support these guys. 

COSBY:  You know, what was your impression?  You and I were out there yesterday.  You know, one of those forward-operating bases was so remote.  We were so close to Pakistan.  You get to see the conditions these guys are living in.  They say it‘s pretty good.  But I think an average American would just—their jaw would drop. 

TRIPLE H:  Yes.  Well, I‘ll give you a comment on that, Rita.  I would love to give you my impressions, but I‘m trained as a wrestler.  I don‘t really do impressions.  So I‘d just tell you what I thought about it...


COSBY:  You should stay away from comedy.

TRIPLE H:  It‘s a lounge act.  You know, it‘s amazing to see guys out there, you know.  They‘re living in a tent.  They‘re in the middle of nowhere.  They have, you know, nothing that we would consider a necessity of life and, yet they‘re happy as could be and just thrilled to be there. 

And, you know, the one thing that I think across the board is, when you talk to these guys, it‘s all about how thrilled and honored they are to be here doing their job and defending our country. 

COSBY:  We got shots of you also doing some firing.  You had a pretty good shot. 

TRIPLE H:  Well, I didn‘t actually hit any targets, but I think, when you‘re just lobbing grenades at a hill, you don‘t really have to exactly hit the target, you just have to be in the general area.  So I think I did OK. 

COSBY:  What is it going to be like for you when you perform for these guys?  You‘re going to performing tomorrow. 

TRIPLE H:  Oh, this is going to be probably one of my biggest experiences of my career, you know, to walk down that aisle out of that hangar over there.  And I don‘t know how many troops are going to have here, but, you know, it‘s going to be the ultimate, for us to come out here and—if we could put a smile on their faces for five minutes, and make them forget about, you know, being out here in the freezing cold, and away from home, and away from their families, then, you know, it‘s worth the trip for sure. 

COSBY:  You know, when you see how tough it is, you know, visiting the hospital, seeing the guys, do you think Americans really realize just, you know, how difficult—I think a lot of people, unfortunately, have forgotten about Afghanistan and, boy, are these guys working so hard. 

TRIPLE H:  No, it‘s totally forgotten about, you know, and I mean—and just not here.  I think that the respect for our military is forgotten about in general.  I don‘t think that enough people support it. 

They‘ve gotten so wrapped up at home, the media has gotten everybody so wrapped up in the how‘s and the why‘s we‘re doing it, as opposed to that we are actually doing it, so let‘s support the guys that are out there on the field every day, you know, defending it, and giving the people back home the ability to speak their mind and not be run by a dictator that tells them what to think, you know what I mean? 

And that‘s what this is all about, is supporting these guys.  And America needs to wake up to that. 

COSBY:  You‘ve gone out there.  You were signing autographs.  What was it like for you to walk out?  We‘re in the middle of nowhere, in this valley.  I wish people could have seen just, you know, literally nobody around.  And then you‘ve got these bright faces.  What was that like for you, personally? 

TRIPLE H:  It‘s incredible.  You know, I mean, it‘s the ultimate experience, I guess, to go out there and take people that are doing this unbelievable job and something that we can‘t even imagine what they‘re going through to be out here going through all of that, and to—you know, at some of the bases that we went to yesterday, nobody goes out there. 

You know, those guys kept saying to us, “What are you guys doing down here?  Nobody comes out here.” 

COSBY:  Yes, “How did you get here?”


TRIPLE H:  Yes, “You guys are in a warzone.  Get out of here,” you know?  And it‘s—to go out there and put smiles on their faces for five minutes is why we‘re here, you know?  And I wish we could stay here longer, and I wish we could see every single guy here. 

You know, unfortunately, we can‘t, but we‘re going to try our hardest to see everyone, shake everybody‘s hand, you know, make sure everybody gets a shirt or a picture, and at least leaves with a smile on their face. 

COSBY:  Well, I think you‘ve made a lot of smiles this trip.  Thank you so much, Triple H.  You guys, wait until you see this guy wrestle.  He is—big fans here? 


This guy is awesome in the ring.  You‘re going to love this. 

And, of course, there are ladies involved, as well.  I thought, you know, the guys at the bases would be happy to see me.  They smiled when they saw me, but then they had these two gorgeous divas who are coming out right now, Ashley and Candice Michelle, everybody. 


First of all, who is this lucky guy? 


ASHLEY, WWE DIVA:  This is my new boyfriend I found. 

COSBY:  You guys, you‘re shaking a little bit. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s cold out here. 

COSBY:  How did you get so lucky to be surrounded here? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think I was set up. 

COSBY:  Where are you from?  Give us a sense about yourself. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m from Portland, Oregon.  I‘m a medic with the 1042nd.  

COSBY:  Is there somebody at home you want to say something to? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, hey, Dad.  There‘s a million people I‘d love to say hey to, but hey, Dad. 

COSBY:  Anybody you want to thank, too? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, man, there‘s so many, but everybody at work.  You know, I miss them.  I‘ll be looking forward to seeing everybody back home. 

COSBY:  Well, we‘re really proud of you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you. 

And, you guys, these lovely ladies...


... I can tell you—look at the smiles on his face—if you could have seen the smiles, these guys, in the middle of no-man‘s-land...



... in the middle of no-man‘s-land, they see all of a sudden these two gorgeous women come out.  I think some guys, their eyeballs popped out of their sockets.  I don‘t know if they‘re ever going to be able to get them back in.

What was it like for both of you to be out there, you know, and to say thank you? 

ASHLEY:  We‘ve been having such a great time.  And it‘s such an honor to be able to come out here and thank these guys for what they do.  We‘re so appreciative, and we‘re just really lucky to be able to come out here and say thanks.  And we love you guys. 

CANDICE, WWE DIVA:  Yes, I mean, just on that same note, you know, you can‘t really be home and realize all the hard work that these guys go through.  And to come out here, and to go and tell them that we really appreciate it, and give them a lot of entertainment this Friday...


... we‘re really excited about that. 

COSBY:  What are your impressions of Afghanistan?  This is my first time in the country.  When we flew over yesterday in that Chinook helicopter, which, by the way, was a little bit of bumpy ride... 


... wasn‘t it?

ASHLEY:  Oh my god, so fun, though. 

COSBY:  Yes, I think all of us were a little green by the time we landed.  But what was your impressions of the country? 

ASHLEY:  Well, it‘s actually really pretty.  We went through the mountains and, like, we had the helicopter going down through the valleys and stuff.  And it was really—it was really exciting.  That was one of the most coolest experiences of my entire life was riding in the Blackhawk. 

CANDICE:  Yes, I mean, you don‘t realize how beautiful this country actually is.  You know, when you get out and you see all the mountains and everything surrounding it, and you just really appreciate life and what we have back in the states. 

COSBY:  What do some of the guys say to you that really touched you? 

CANDICE:  You know, it‘s been so nice that they‘ve all been so appreciative that we‘re here.  And, in reality, we‘re more appreciative of what they‘re doing for us and that we have the opportunity to come here and perform for them and really thank them for what they‘re doing. 

COSBY:  How many pictures and how many autographs?  I saw, like, a million flashes going off. 

ASHLEY:  It‘s great.  I mean, we‘ve been doing the same exact thing.  It‘s funny, they‘re like, “Can we take pictures?”  And we‘re like, “But what about us?  Can you take our camera, too?”


CANDICE:  I think they‘re the stars in the situation. 

ASHLEY:  Yes, it‘s true.

CANDICE:  We want a picture more than they want of us.

COSBY:  Now, both of you are really gorgeous.  I have to ask, why did you get into wrestling?  What made you go into the sport? 

ASHLEY:  Oh, I love wrestling.  I‘ve always been a fan.  And now, to be a part of it, it‘s just amazing.  It‘s just, you know, really cool. 

CANDICE:  I just like to get down and dirty. 


COSBY:  And who‘s going to win?  Who‘s going to win?  Are you guys fighting against each other or no? 

ASHLEY:  You know, we‘re not sure what‘s on the card yet, but I don‘t know.  I think it‘s a...


CANDICE:  You can tell I‘m a little bit bigger. 

COSBY:  Oh, uh-oh.  You could beat her, is that it?


You guys are terrific.  And I can tell you the soldiers especially were so happy to see you.  You were so gracious with the soldiers.  Thank you so much. 

CANDICE:  Thank you, Rita.

COSBY:  Thank you.  Keep up the great—you guys, the two gorgeous women, the divas. 


And, you guys, when we come back, we‘re going to talk about this letter that I got in New York.  What does it have to do with something here thousands of miles away?  Find out when we come back. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) from Denver, Colorado.  I just want to wish happy holidays to my family, especially Kendra (ph), Brandon (ph) and Morgan.  I‘ll be home soon.



COSBY:  And, everybody, keep those e-mails coming.  We want to thank you for all of them.  And we‘re so appreciative.  And I know the troops are.  We‘ve been passing them along, and they‘re thrilled to get all of the wonderful words of support from all of you. 

You know, I want to share with you now a very special letter, something I got when I was in New York last week.  It is from Major Chuck Kilbride to Captain Jack Kilbride, with Joint Task Force 76 right here in Bagram.  Got this letter. 

This is—I know Major Kilbride.  But I want to show a quote in the letter, if I could, really quick.  It‘s a really touching letter to his son.  And it says, “I don‘t have to tell you how proud your mother and I are of your service to our country.  You and your brothers and sisters have served with honor.”

And joining me now is Captain Jack Kilbride.  I want to pass this letter on to you from your dad that he gave me last week. 

CAPTAIN JACK KILBRIDE, 173RD AIRBORNE, U.S. ARMY:  Thank you very much, Rita.  I appreciate it. 

COSBY:  How does it feel—you know, you‘re in a military family—to hear those words of support from your dad? 

J. KILBRIDE:  Well, you know, as a kid, you always grow up and you say, you know, I always wanted to be—I want to be just like my old man.  And, you know, in some respects, I am.  And it can be a good thing, it can be a bad thing, too, Dad.  And I think you know that. 

But, bottom line being, I‘m very happy.  I‘m very proud that my father is proud of me. 

COSBY:  Let me read another quote, if I could.  It says, “You guys have weathered the storm before.  Keep your eye on the ball.  Take care of your troops, signed Major Dad.”  “P.S.”—this is my favorite part—he says, “Be nice to Rita.  She is the best.”  So that‘s a direct order from the major.

J. KILBRIDE:  Then I guess I‘ll have to comply.


COSBY:  You know, we have a surprise for you this morning.  This morning here in Bagram tonight, obviously—it‘s on the east coast of America—we‘ve got your dad hooked up. 

Major Kilbride, can you hear us? 

MAJOR CHUCK KILBRIDE, FATHER OF JACK KILBRIDE:  Yes, I can hear you fine.  I can hear you, Rita. 

COSBY:  Hey.  You know, we‘ve got a big surprise.  I know neither one of you knew you about this surprise.  You‘ve got a very happy son right here.  What do you want to say to your dad who‘s listening? 

J. KILBRIDE:  Well, you know, I thought the voice-over-Internet was pretty cool, but this is awesome. 


COSBY:  What do you want to say to your dad about the letter? 

J. KILBRIDE:  Hey, Dad, I appreciate the letter, thanks.  And tell mom I said hi.  Tell her I love her, and Merry Christmas to the rest of them.  And I‘ll give you guys a call later. 

COSBY:  Major, anything you want to say to your son here?  I can tell you, because when we asked—you know, I said—you know, I got this letter from your dad.  I said, “Do you know of a Captain Kilbride?”  And we said, “Oh my God, he works here in the main office.  He‘s doing a great job.” 

So, Major, they‘re very proud of your son.  But is there something that you‘d like to say to him now, while we‘re here live from Bagram. 

C. KILBRIDE:  Well, I want to mention—I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Jack.  But could you do me one big favor and give Rita Cosby a big hug and a kiss from me and for your mother? 


COSBY:  You‘re going to have to do it. 

C. KILBRIDE:  Go ahead, Jack. 

COSBY:  Thank you so much.  Oh, thank you. 

J. KILBRIDE:  Thank you. 

COSBY:  Thank you.

J. KILBRIDE:  Thank you.

COSBY:  Captain Kilbride, really an honor.  And it‘s so great to have you and your dad.  And your dad‘s a good guy.  I had the chance to meet him a couple of times.  And, most of all, he‘s very proud of you and the service you‘ve done.  Anything, finally, you want to say to him and to America watching tonight? 

J. KILBRIDE:  Well, I just want to say that, you know, guys like me, we‘re a dime a dozen.  There‘s a lot of heroes out there doing what needs to be done for this country, and I‘m very proud of them.  And I have the greatest respect and admiration for them, because they‘re taking it to the enemy and they‘re helping to rebuild a nation and help this government provide to protect and serve their people. 

And it‘s awesome to be part of it, but guys like me are just a small part.  And together, we make this work.  So thank you, and appreciate you coming.  I appreciate the letter.

And to my wife, I love you, and I‘ll call you later, too. 

COSBY:  What do you want to say to your dad?  By the way, you guys, his father, 27 years in the Marine Corps.  Final thoughts to your dad?

J. KILBRIDE:  I‘m glad I‘m doing my part.  And I know Tom—he‘s my brother—he‘s also doing his part.  I was able to run into him just a couple of weeks ago here at Bagram.  So I guess Bagram‘s the place to be if you want family reunions. 


COSBY:  Thank you very much.  We‘re glad we could make that for you. 

J. KILBRIDE:  Thank you very much.

COSBY:  Thank you.  And Merry Christmas to you.

And, Major Kilbride, he‘s doing great.  You can see the troops are proud of him.  And thank you so much for your service to this country.

When we come back, how do you keep these guys happy during the holidays?  You can try to surprise them with their father and do other things, or you can surprise them with 18 wrestlers.  We‘re going to tell you how it all came about after the break. 


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP:  Happy holidays from Fox Company 23.  Hoo-ah! 

COSBY:  And you are looking live, as we‘re here in Bagram.  It is almost 10:00 on the East Coast of America, but it is 7:30, sunny, especially for these guys here next to these gorgeous women, here at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.  It‘s been a real honor to be here and also be with all the World Wrestling Entertainment divas and superstars.  This has been one heck of an incredible trip. 

So how do you put something like this together?  How do you plan such an extraordinary event?  Talk about security issues, talk about planning issues, talk about making these guys happy all year round, when they‘re fighting on the front lines on the war on terror?

I want to bring in the head of Armed Forces Entertainment, Art Myers.  You are one of the heroes here, because you make these guys happy.  You know, Art, how do you plan this?  How do you and your organization plan such an event? 

ART MYERS, ARMED FORCES ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR:  Well, what we do is, we go out and find out what the troops want.  And for years, they‘ve always asked us for wrestling.  So we sent some amateur wrestlers out. 

So, in 2003, Vince McMahon called us and said, “How about a handshake tour to go out?”  We sent them on a handshake tour.  That worked out.  Next thing I knew, he said, “Let‘s do a show in Iraq.”  We did our first show in 2003.  We taped it there, and it was shown on Christmas. 

Last year, we went to 17 forward-operating locations in Iraq.  This year, Afghanistan.  Yesterday, you were with us.  We visited a couple of forward-operating sites.  We do the same thing today.  Tomorrow is the big show.  And that will be aired nationally the 19th of December. 

COSBY:  Yes, I also heard that Afghan TV is actually going to be carrying that.  Pretty incredible.

MYERS:  It is.  And, yesterday, we came across a lot of Afghans civilians, and they were right in there getting autographs, even getting your autograph yesterday. 

COSBY:  I remember.  I was one of the superstars.  I was laughing. 

They said, “Rita Cosby, MSNBC.” 


It was very funny to hear it.  You know, why do these soldiers—why do these young men and women—and some of them, you know, barely old enough to drive—when you see these bright, wonderful faces, you know, why do they connect so much with wrestlers?  Why does it mean so much for them to have these guys here? 

MYERS:  Well, you know, I grew up watching wrestling.  And they‘re sort of my heroes.  And I think it‘s the same thing with the troops. 

Well, what‘s the difference about the WWE, when they go out, they actually get up, shake the hand of the troop, ask them some questions, sign autographs, and, you know, they go from morning to night, so it‘s that personal contact.  And they don‘t do it just in Iraq.  Whenever they have shows in the United States, if they‘re near a base, they‘ll go out to the base and visit the troops.  When they are in Washington, they load the ring with different troops. 

COSBY:  Now, everybody is away from home for the holidays, but all of you guys, Art Myers, you work your heart out.  I know you go on all these trips all the time.  This is your 31st wedding anniversary. 

MYERS:  Yes, it is. 

COSBY:  Happy anniversary.  Hopefully your wife is watching you.


AUDIENCE:  Happy anniversary!

MYERS:  Marshelle (ph), happy anniversary.  I love you so much.  And take care of Nicholas. 

COSBY:  All right.  Art Myers, keep up the great work you do.


And everybody, when we come back, more of the best, the bravest, U.S.  military.  We‘re going to talk to some of these guys.  Here‘s some great personal stories.  And also, take a look at these gorgeous divas.  We‘re going to talk a little bit more to the divas to the wrestlers.  Stick with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is RPT Miranda (ph).  And I just want to say hi to my families in Hawaii and to my mom in California.  And I wish you merry Christmas and happy new year.  I‘ll see you soon.



COSBY:  We‘ll get to you guys. 

And you are looking live here, Bagram Air Field, some very happy soldiers. 


Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.  Does anybody doubt the morale of our troops? 

First of all, where are you from?  Give us your rank. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m from Tucson, Arizona.  My name is San Jose Contreras (ph).  I just want to say hi to my mom, hi to my brother, Pete, and my sister, Naomi (ph), and my little nephew and my niece. 

COSBY:  Proud to serve this country?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of course.  I‘ve been in the Army for eight years, and it‘s—I mean, this is like the best thing for me, you know?  I love what I do. 

COSBY:  Well, we love what you do, too. 

Tell us your name and rank?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi, I‘m Master Sergeant Tim Leahy (ph) from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. 

COSBY:  And who do you want to say hi to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, I‘d love to say hi to my wife.  I love you, Trish, Timmy, Cecilia (ph), my dog, Reeboks.  I miss you.  Happy holidays.  Happy anniversary, babe.  Thank you. 

COSBY:  When‘s the anniversary? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The 15th of December. 

COSBY:  You‘re going to be here with us?


COSBY:  So we‘ll be celebrating it with you. 


COSBY:  We‘ll try to make you feel at home.


COSBY:  What about you, sir?  Your name and rank?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) Willy (ph) from Atlanta, Georgia. 

COSBY:  I see you got a little holiday spirit there. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, got to do it, got to represent. 


COSBY:  Tell us, who do you want to say hi to? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I want to say hi to all my friends and family, from Arizona to Tucson, Cali, got them all over the place.  I got you all right here. 

COSBY:  And who do you want to say hi to at home? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I just want to say to my husband in Dover, Delaware.  I love you.  Merry Christmas. 

COSBY:  What does it feel like to serve this country?  Look at you. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s great.  I‘m happy.  I‘m speechless. 

COSBY:  Well, we‘re speechless.  And we‘re so happy to be here with all of you guys.  Really quickly, we have a challenge here. 

Candace, you‘ve got about five seconds.  What do you want to challenge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I want to see who guys—who can cheer the loudest?  And we can fix some chapped lips with a hug and a kiss. 

COSBY:  Really quick, you guys, who wants it?


And, of course, everybody, we are going to be back tomorrow from Bagram.  Joe Scarborough is next. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  All right.  Thanks so much, Rita. 

Greatly appreciate it.

Right now, in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, shoot to kill.


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