“Stars Earn Stripes” Brings Military Combat to Reality Television!

“Stars Earn Stripes” is a new reality competition show on NBC which features selected celebrities competing in competitions with military veterans to earn money for charities which support the military or first responder efforts. Four Star General Wesley Clark is the Commander in Chief and Samantha Harris is the host in this show whose focus is to bring awareness to the general public of the struggles faced daily by those who fight for the freedom of each citizen of the United States.

The premiere featured the introduction of the “operatives” who are real life military heroes in their own right and who understand, firsthand, what is faced on the combat field. They are:

  • Chris Kyle – US Navy Seal and the deadliest sniper in US military history
  • Grady Powell – US Army Green Beret
  • Dale Comstock – US Army Delta Force
  • Tom Stroup – S.W.A.T Commander
  • JW Cortes – NY City Police Officer
  • Andrew McLaren – US Marine
  • Brent Gleeson – US Navy Seal
  • Talon Smith – US Navy Combat Corpsman

The celebrities competing to earn stripes and money for their selected charity foundations are:

  • Dean Cain – Actor (Superman) playing for the “Wounded Warrior Project”
  • Dolvett Quince – Fitness Guru (Biggest Loser) playing for “Got Your 6”
  • Eve Torres – Diva (WWE) playing for “USO”
  • Laila Ali – Boxer (American Gladiators) playing for “Military Child Education Coalition”
  • Nick Lachey – Singer (98 Degrees) playing for “The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation”
  • Picabo Street – Olympic Skier playing for “Hiring Our Heroes”
  • Terry Crews – NFL player and actor (The Expendables 2) playing for The Pat Tillman Foundation”
  • Todd Palin – Iron Dog champion and husband of former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin playing for “Armed Services YMCA Alaska”

The contestants arrive by helicopter to the secret training facility setup by General Clark complete with a mission control center where the troops are given instructions on upcoming missions as well as AAR (After Actual Reviews) which the general will assess the competitions and reveal the winners as well as those who will compete in a head-to-head shootout to survive elimination. It appears after the teams are announced that JW Cortes is not too excited about being teamed with Todd Palin (is he a Democrat?) but that will change during the mission when Todd becomes a force to be reckoned with as he gains the nickname “Rambo.”

The teams are announced and they are:

  • Chris Kyle and Dean Cain
  • Grady Powell and Eve Torres
  • Dale Comstock and Terry Crews (the grandfathers)
  • Tom Stroup and Nick Lachey
  • JW Cortes and Todd Palin
  • Andrew McLaren and Dolvett Quince
  • Brent Gleeson and Picabo Street
  • Talon Smith and Laila Ali

The mission this week is an amphibious assault with the mission objective as infiltrating a hostile encampment, locating the weapons cache, and eliminating the ammunition. This will be accomplished by being dropped from a helicopter in full gear to be picked by by a Zodiac amphibious vehicle and transported to the beach. There they will be engaged with enemy fire as they struggle to take out the guard tower and ground targets before heading through a mine field to secure the ammunition case which will be placed in a shack to blow up upon extraction. Sound simple, eh? Not so fast…

Normally, the mission will be team events but in real life, this is a squad task so the teams are combined into four squads. Alpha Squad is Dean Cain, Operative Chris Kyle, Laila Ali, and Operative Talon Smith. Bravo Squad is Dolvett Quince, Operative Andrew McLaren, Todd Palin, and Operative JW Cortes. The Charlie Squad is comprised of Nick Lachey, Operative Tom Stroup, Eve Torres, and Operative Grady Powell. Finally, Delta Squad has Terry Crews, Operative Dale Comstock, Picabo Street, and Operative Brent Gleeson. The mission begins with the appropriate training to familiarize the celebrities with the weapons they will be firing as they will be using live rounds of ammunition in the completion of these tasks. The weapons used are the M249 machine gun and the Scar 16 assault rifle with grenade launcher.

The first squad up is Alpha with Dean and Laila who lay the groundwork for all others to follow as they watch from behind the scenes. They are dropped in the water and quickly realize this is reality as the gear fills with water making them rocks to the lake bottom as they struggle to get in the Zodiac. They are on the craft and headed to the beach in 2 minutes, 49 seconds. On shore, the targets are quickly taken out as all head to the ammunition case after getting through the mine field. They are knee deep in mud. They retrieve the case and carry it to the shack which is not an easily busted through door but busted up with an ax. The case is placed and they are extracted, blowing up the shack with a completion time of 13 minutes, 20 seconds.

Bravo squad is certain they can beat this time until Dolvett struggles after landing in the water making it necessary to be extracted by the rescue squad putting his team behind as they attempt to help. They are not in the Zodiac and heading to the beach for nearly four minutes. Once on the beach, the operatives and Palin waste no time out running the simulated enemy fire and mine explosions as Todd blasts through the mine field and gets to the ammunition case before the operatives clear the field and on his way back. It takes them almost 21 minutes to complete the task.

Charlie squad is in the water and out to the watercraft in just over 2 minutes as they race to the beach and quickly take out all of the targets. They struggle with the ammunition case a little in the mud but the team of Nick and Eve with their operatives complete the mission in the quickest time of just over 10 minutes. Delta squad faces struggles similar to that of the Bravo squad when Terry Crews needs to be rescued from the water after becoming too heavy for Operative Dale Comstock to haul to the Zodiac. They make it to shore and take out the targets thanks to the expert shooting ability of Picabo Street. She breaks open the shack door as the guys get the ammunition but their time places them in the bottom two along with Bravo squad.

Back at mission control, General Wesley Clark determines it is only fair the two who were rescued compete in the head-to-head shootout to determine who is eliminated and who continues on, earning a stripe for their charity. Both Terry Crews and Dolvette Quince agree and the game is afoot. There will be a shootout house which has close contact engagement targets, the Scar range with several different targets, and finally the long range where the contestants must hit a small piece of plastic to release a target to fall on a mine.

Terry and Dolvette reach the Scar range at the same time, but it is Dolvette who quickly hits all the targets and heads to the long range, thinking this win is in the bag, but Terry finds his mark and is behind him as Quince cannot seem to hit the mark down range. At the last minute, it is Crews who comes up the winner and moves on with the rest while Quince walks the path back to Hollywood with a new found appreciation for the men and women serving the military. Join us next week as the teams complete another mission as they move closer to the grand finale on NBC Monday beginning at 8/7c.

Image and video clip courtesy of NBC



  1. Jim August 15, 2012
  2. Canadian August 14, 2012

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