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Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin is the latest celebrity to write a letter of encouragement to US troops stationed overseas as part of D.B. Sweeney's Letter From Hollywood initiative.

“I served for 10 years as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army,” wrote Astin. "It was an incredibly rewarding way to learn about the Civilian and Military leadership of our Armed Forces. I remember doing what you are doing now for Armed Forces Radio Network in Germany. Denzel Washington and I were standing in full battle tank gear in El Paso Texas recreating a scene from Persian Gulf 1 and I shoved a microphone in front of him and said, can you say Merry Christmas to the troops. He stood tall with a fat cigar in his hand surrounded by a bunch of Australian Sheridan’s made up to look like T-72’s and started talking to the guys in the field, hunkered down (in Bosnia I think) like they were having a beer together around a barrel fire.

"Civilian Aides can only serve for 2 five-year terms, which I did under Sec. Army’s during the Clinton and Bush administrations. I remember having a little conflict with one of them who was disparaging of “Hollywood.” I reminded him of the extraordinary legacy that movie stars and studios have had working along side the fighting men and women of our country.

"I haven’t been a Civilian Aide since 2005 and the thing I miss the most is visiting our bases and installations all over the country and abroad. The time I’ve spent with the troops is sacred and I’ll never forget it.

"I feel a swell of pride and loneliness and gratitude when I picture children away from a parent and a parent in uniform missing a loved one at home on the Holidays."

D.B. Sweeney publishes a new letter from a Hollywood star every Tuesday, with celebrities such as Cuba Gooding Jr. and Joe Mantegna already putting pen to paper to support the troops.

To read Sean’s full letter – as well as those from Joe and Cuba – click here.

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