Veterans Come 'Home for the Holidays' on ABC's Programming Today

As part of ABC's annual "Home for the Holidays" campaign, and in support of Disney's company-wide "Heroes Work Here" initiative, a day of veteran inspired programming will launch on the Network TODAY, DECEMBER 13. In addition, the fifth digital short film debuting on abc.com that day is called "A Homecoming," written by First Lt. Donna Bachler, whose mentor was "Nashville" executive producer Dee Johnson. The short was directed by Jon Huertas (who plays Javier Esposito on "Castle"), an Air Force vet himself.

"The View" (9:00 a.m., ET) kicks off the day with two of the filmmaker veterans, Rebecca Murga and Ryan Curtis, in-studio to talk about their short films and the campaign. On "The Chew" (1:00 p.m. ET), Chef Mario Battali cooks a meal for a deployed naval officer's wife.

On "Last Man Standing" (8:00-8:31 p.m., ET), in the spirit of Christmas, the sometimes self-absorbed Mandy (Molly Ephraim) plays Santa by anonymously arranging for the family housekeeper Blanca's (Carla Maria Jimenez) serviceman brother-in-law (played by a real-life sailor, Petty Officer First Class Raymond McKnight) to fly home from Afghanistan for the holidays. As part of ABC's "Home for the Holidays," McKnight's family received the surprise of a lifetime when he shocked his wife and children on the set of "Last Man Standing" after being overseas on duty for the past nine months. The emotional homecoming was filmed and will air as a scene in the episode.

On "Shark Tank" (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET), the holidays have already taken off for Marine Corps aviation officer Major Robert Dyer, a highly decorated combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, with RuckPack, his energy and nutritional supplement designed and tested by active duty military personnel, which Kevin O'Leary and Robert Herjavec invested in during Season 4. Dyer returns for an update on his product. The Sharks in this episode of "Shark Tank" are Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John and Kevin O'Leary.

On "Nightline," ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz files a moving update on two soldiers, Tomas Young and Robert Miltenberger, whom she has covered since the early days of the war in Iraq. While on a mission to rescue fellow soldiers pinned down in a war-torn neighborhood of Sadr City, Young was paralyzed by a sniper's bullet. For the last 10 years he has struggled physically and emotionally. In this report, Young is reunited for the first time with Staff Sergeant Miltenberger, who won the Silver Star for saving the life of Young and five others on that fateful day in Sadr City. This piece will air both on "Nightline" (12:35 a.m., ET) and "World News with Diane Sawyer" (6:30 p.m., ET).

And later this month on "General Hospital" (Thursday, December 26), a military veteran who thinks he might have cancer comes to see Dr. Silas Clay for a prognosis. The soldier confides to Dr. Clay that he's had to keep this potentially painful secret from his loving wife and doesn't like lying to her -- a message that leaves Silas pondering if he should tell Sam the truth about his own dark past. The vet is played by Christopher Allen, who served four years in the U.S. Air Force.




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