Straight From the Hart I
Hey, WWE fans. This is the “Mouth of the South,” Jimmy Hart. I’m writing to you from the heart of the Middle East in Kuwait City. Now you might wonder what a Southern boy is doing in this part of the world. I’m here with Ron Simmons, Maria and Ashley on a Legends & Divas Tour with Armed Forces Entertainment to meet our fighting men and women of the U.S. military. We’re going to shake hands, take pictures, swap stories, and thank each and every one of them for making it safe for us to live in the good ole’ USA.
As you know, my son Jimmy Hart, Jr., served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. When he made it back home safe and sound from Iraq after a year and a day, I made a promise that I would do everything I could for our troops. When Gary Davis (VP, WWE Corporate Communications) and Sue Aitchison (Sr. Manager, WWE Community Relations) called me to ask if I would participate in an event for the USO of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., for its annual fundraiser, I said, “Sign me up.” The greatest thrill of my life was visiting our troops in the hospitals in Walter Reed (Washington, D.C.) and Bethesda (Maryland). What these guys and gals have gone through, and still having their spirits so high, made meeting them an unbelievably uplifting experience. How can any of us ever complain about anything anymore after meeting these young men and women and learning what they have experienced and sacrificed for us?
After visiting these wounded troops, a few weeks later, I had the thrill of visiting Andrews Air Force Base with Mr. Kennedy as part of an Armed Forces Entertainment Appreciation Day for the troops. I’ve really had some fun working with the young up and coming Superstars for the WWE, like Mr. Kennedy, who reminds me of me. He talks as much as I do!
This trip to Kuwait started out a bit shaky. It started with our departure point, Washington, D.C., with the horrible weather. We all experienced difficulties getting in because of all the rain and flooding. Maria had to take two different flights after Monday Night RAW because of delays and cancellations. To top it off, she lost her luggage. But what a trooper. At 2 a.m. she went back to the airport to pick up her luggage, and had just enough time to get to the hotel before we met in the lobby to leave for our 5:45 a.m. pick up to get to our flight on British Airways. Ashley, fighting a temperature and a cold, drove in from Roanoke, Va., after SmackDown and got in the next morning just in time for us to leave. One thing about her, we weren’t about to lose her luggage. It was bright pink with white polka dots. As I helped carry her luggage through the airport, I felt like I was back in the day managing Adrian Adonis.
Ron Simmons will be the muscle of this trip. I told Ron that if any fighting breaks out, he’ll hold them off while I run to get help. As big as he is, we’re as safe as in the vault at Fort Knox. Big Frank from Mirabilis Ventures told me when I left Orlando if I have any problems, I can just call them, so if Ron fails me, I know I have back-up.
Henry Dirocco, our trusty photographer, is with us. (I hope he brings the camera this time.) We have strict rules on what we can photograph. No photos of mosques or women in burquas. Our guides from AFE, Ryan and Richard, are good guys. Rich is from the south and Ryan is from Arizona. He says even he had to adjust to the dry, hot conditions in Kuwait. We’re anticipating visiting places where the day time temperatures will reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kuwait is where our troops transition to and from Iraq. In the five days we are here, we expect to visit with thousands of troops at the different bases to help them celebrate around the Fourth of July holiday. We are up to the task.
You know I started today off right when I arrived at our hotel. Gary Davis checked the menu out. He said, “Jimmy you’ll be happy.” I said, “Why?” “They’ve got that Jimmy Hart Southern boy special for breakfast, your favorites—pork and beans and French fries.” Well he’s right. The most important meal of the day is breakfast, and boy, I’m in heaven.
We’ll give you an update when visit our first base. With the Divas, we are armed and dangerous, and anything can happen. Stay tuned for more episodes of the Legends & Divas Tour, coming to you from Kuwait!