Chuck Norris, six-time world professional karate champion, movie and TV star and, more recently, a WND columnist, is visiting U.S. troops in Iraq where he says the surge is working and “morale is up – way up!”
Norris is visiting 15 bases – including remote outposts – at the invitation of the assistant commandant of the Marines, Gen. Bob Magnus. It’s Norris’ second trip to encourage the troops. Last November, his United Service Organizations tour with Marines in Iraq was described by Corps officials as one of the best received ever.
Norris’ pastor, Todd DuBord, who is part of the traveling team that arrived last week, says Norris so far has seen more than 10,000 soldiers, “shaking hands with nearly every one!”
Norris said in an e-mail from Iraq two things have become very apparent as he has traveled from base to base: The “surge is working” and “morale is up – way up!”
Norris, who also has met with Iraqi troops and civilians, said he notices a marked difference in security since his November trip.
“It’s a huge difference!” he said.
“It is so much safer and more relaxed, particularly in the Al Anbar province,” Norris said. “It is so much better than often conveyed by the liberal media.”
He plans to talk more about the situation in his next WND column.
Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Sapp and Chuck Norris during previous trip to Iraq in November 2006
“These young men and women are making a difference here, and they believe they can win the day and the war, and give the Iraqi people full ownership of their land,” Norris said. “The question is: Will Americans lose their patience before we expand the safety into other regions of Iraq the way our military has in most of Al Anbar province?”
Norris’ wife, Gena, told WND the purpose of the trip is to let the troops know “how much my husband cares and appreciates them and to salute them personally for their unselfish willingness to place themselves in harm’s way to protect this great nation and our freedom.”
In April, Norris, whose lifetime exploits also are the subject of a special Chuck Norris Laughlines Forum, was named an “honorary Marine” by the U.S. Marine Corps.
“As a former airman in the U.S. Air Force, the military has always been very close to me,” Norris said at the time. “It turned my life around. It helped me get on the right path.”
His career began not in movies or television, but as a real-life martial arts star. Six times he was an undefeated World Professional MiddleWeight Karate Champion and taught celebrity students, including Priscilla Presley, Donnie and Marie Osmond and Steve McQueen.
He founded the United Fighting Arts Federation with more than 2,300 black belts around the world. In 1997, he became the first man ever in the Western Hemisphere to be awarded an eighth-degree Black Belt Grand Master recognition in the Tae Kwon Do system, a precedent in 4,500 years of tradition.
Norris also is a powerboat racer, and in 1991 with his team won the World Offshore Powerboat championship. He followed that up with a world record time of 12 hours and 8 minutes for the 605-mile trip across the Great Lakes in a 38-foot Scarab boat.
His autobiography, in 1988, called “The Secret of Inner Strength,” was a New York Times best-seller, and he’s represented the United Way, the Veterans Administration and the Make A Wish Foundation.
He’s described his most rewarding accomplishment as the creation of his Kick-Start Foundation. With the help of President Bush, he implemented a program teaching the martial arts to 150 high-risk children at M.C. Williams Middle School in Houston, Texas, as part of the school curriculum. It was so successful at helping instill discipline and respect in the kids, as well as getting them out of gangs, the program now is in 30 schools with more than 4,200 young boys and girls participating.
Norris and his wife serve on the board of directors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum In Public Schools with the aim of helping students understand the Bible’s impact on history and literature.
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