VETERAN of the MONTH
Actor and comedian Rob Riggle is known for his hilarious roles in popular movies like The Hangover and 21 Jump Street. But before Riggle was starring in comedies with Bradley Cooper or performing sketches on Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show With Jon
Stewart, he was a hard-charging, butt-kicking Marine. And Riggle, who has been working on a comedy project for ABC, took his military role very seriously. “I loved being a Marine,” he says. “It’s a great honor. And not to sound too corny, but I really love my country.”
He joined at 19 and served a total of 23 years—nine on active duty and 14 in the Reserve, as a public affairs officer. He only recently retired, in 2013, after reaching one of the highest ranks in the Marine Corps, receiving more than 20 medals and ribbons and deploying overseas four times, including to Afghanistan after 9/11.
“My country was just attacked and I had just spent multiple days working very hard down at Ground Zero… and I was p---ed off,” he says.
From Service to Success
Many of the lessons Riggle learned in the military helped him navigate the cutthroat world of Hollywood. “The Marines gave me a thick skin and a sense of determination, which you need if you are trying to make it in show business,” he says.
He’s given back to fellow veterans in many ways, such as performing on USO tours and hosting a veteran celebrity golf tournament to benefit the Semper Fi Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance and support to wounded service members.
Although he’s retired, Riggle still holds the Marine Corps in the highest regard. “I miss being a Marine. There’s such an amazing attitude of absolutely ‘can do, can do, can do.’”
Visit Parade.com/veterans to read about other honored vets.
ROB RIGGLE Retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, Marine Training Unit-17