In a recent article, SOFREP discussed the low number of Global War on Terror era veterans found in modern movies and television shows, and the potential reasons why so few of our men and women in uniform go on to live in the spotlight like veterans of previous wars. Among that short list of modern-day vets to make it in the acting world was Adam Driver, a U.S. Marine who was medically separated after three years of service, and just before he was slated to deploy with his unit to Iraq.
Before Driver would go on to don the dark uniform of Kylo Ren, he wore the desert tan of the United States Marine Corps. Driver, a mortarman, earned his fair share of nicknames while serving, including the obligatory name-based ones like “Drive-By” as well as the classic appearance based ones.
“There was another guy in my unit with big ears, so I guess he was Ears One and I was Ears Two,” Driver said. “His last name was Martinez. He kind of got the majority of the verbal punishment.”
Driver would go on to seriously injure his sternum in an off-duty mountain biking accident, resulting in his separation from service just before his unit left for Iraq. In interviews since then, Driver has repeatedly mentioned the guilt he has continued to feel for “failing” to complete his commitment to the Corps, and for watching his brothers in arms head into harm’s way while he recuperated at home. He has also gone on to credit his time in uniform for his ability to withstand the emotional pressures of Hollywood.
In a new 4th of July themed advertisement put together by Budweiser, Driver participates in helping another veteran that had a similar experience in service.
The commercial opens with Driver reading a letter from a young woman who is attending nursing school, Hayley Grace Williams. As Driver heads toward her home in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, a voiceover provided by Williams explains why she’s applied for a scholarship provided by an organization called Folds of Honor.
Her father, the commercial explains, was seriously injured in training just prior to deploying with his unit to Iraq at the onset of the Persian Gulf War. His back injury has forced William’s father to accept only part time work in the years since, making paying for school a difficult task. Despite the physical pain her father continues to experience, and the financial strain her education places on the family, she points out that the emotional pain of her father’s service is still just as present.
“Worse than the physical toll, has been the emotional one,” William’s letter states, “while his unit shipped off to war, my dad watched from a hospital room. To this day, he feels a sense of guilt. He feels as though he wasn’t there for his buddies when they needed him.”
Driver arrives to inform the family that Fold of Honor has decided to award her the scholarship she applied for, but not only that, Budweiser will foot the remainder of her education bills, ensuring she has all the funding she needs to complete her degree.
In an emotional moment, William’s father explains to Driver, “you’re probably the first person that ever said ‘I understand,’ and truly understood.”
You can watch the full commercial below:
Image courtesy of YouTube