The star of "Armageddon," "Hart's War" and the "Die Hard" movies, on a goodwill tour of Iraq, visited a remote desert outpost Friday to meet with a small number of U.S. troops monitoring the border with Iran.
Willis walked around the dusty, forward operating base to meet members of the 4th Infantry Division's (search) 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry who are training Iraqi border guards.
"I feel a lot of pride for these guys out here. If I was a little younger, I would be out here with them," the 48-year-old actor told The Associated Press.
As temperatures soared above 115 degrees, Willis watched as soldiers provided medical treatment for more than 200 Iranians who had tried to cross the sandy wasteland separating Iraq from Iran in this remote village about 85 miles northeast of Baghdad.
The Shiite Muslims had been attempting to enter the country to go on religious pilgrimages to the Iraq holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. Because relations between Iraq and Iran have not stabilized, pilgrims often enter the country illegally, walking for days through the desert.
The U.S. Army has been picking them up, proving food, water and medical treatment and then returning them home.
"Look around," Willis said of the austere conditions faced by the soldiers. "This is old school, this is the cavalry.
"What they are doing here is a good thing, it's a humanitarian thing they are taking care of a lot of these people who are coming out of Iran," Willis said during his visit with the 100 or so members of Crazy Horse Troop.
On Thursday, Willis and his band gave a rock concert for hundreds of soldiers at another Army base about 35 miles from the Syrian border.
The audience -- some sitting atop helicopters, others lounging in Humvees -- sent cheers and whistles into night air as Willis and his band belted out rock 'n' roll and the blues.
Most said they didn't know Willis was a singer, but they approved of what they heard.
"Somebody that supports the military like he has and that comes to visit soldiers -- that's important to us," said Spc. Greg Pagan, a bus driver and a postal officer with the 3rd Brigade of the 101st's Airborne Division in northern Iraq.
"It's awesome. It's great for morale," said Col. Michael Linnington, commander of the brigade's "Iron Rakkasans" -- the 187th Infantry Regiment.
"He's my favorite actor and my age," said Linnington, who turns 45 next week. "He's a macho actor. Soldiers identify with action movies and action actors. He's a guy's guy."
Willis, sometimes donning a military hat or a military jacket over his sweat pants, sang mostly oldies as he and his band -- the Accelerator -- stood atop two flatbed trailer trucks.
"We're here to support you," Willis told the soldiers. "If you catch him, just give me four seconds with Saddam Hussein."
The crowd cheered.