Former soldier talks about his time with Robin Williams - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Former soldier talks about his time with Robin Williams


For troops in the Coastal Empire, Robin Williams was much more than a face on a movie screen.

One former soldier in Savannah talked exclusively with WTOC about his time with the comedian and actor.

Josh Jasso was 19 years old and working as an Air Force videographer assigned to cover Williams' visit to Turkey.

"He treated a young soldier like he would treat the general of the base," he said.

He visited military hospitals.

"Just imagine what it would be like to actually have Patch Adams come and see you in the hospital," Jasso said.

Two years later, Jasso was filming Williams' again on his visit to Bagrham Air Force base just after Sadam Hussein was captured. He gave an adult comedy routine geared toward soldiers and made jokes at the toppled dictator's expense.

"You're going to end up in a cell with a guy names Bubba going, ‘I'm your Baghdaddy now,'" Williams said in the routine.

"I never once saw him not be able to make someone smile because he just never turned it off," Jasso said. "He took them out of whatever they were in in that moment, and just took them somewhere else."

Jasso watched Williams stand for four hours signing autographs and posing for pictures, never turning anyone away.

"It made everyone kind of forget about the fact that they were in Iraq, about the fact that they were away from their families," said Jasso. "Basically, the modern day Bob Hope."

Jasso followed Williams as he toured the base. What struck him most was Williams' energy and his constant effort to make those around him laugh.

"He never turned it off," Jasso said. "He would be on the bus. Never turned it off. Talking to the general, he never turned it off. He was so many things to so many people, but we may never know who the real Robin Williams was."

Jasso is now a professional videographer in the private sector. He worked here at WTOC for several years and was our chief videographer.

He's branched out to form his own documentary film company.

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