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Veteran's new role echoes his service

October 8, 2013 Updated: October 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm
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A former Fort Carson soldier who used his GI Bill to attend acting school has landed his first role on the small screen.

Chris DeVinny, a former forward observer who served with the post's 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, will play a Navy master-at-arms in an upcoming episode of NBC's "Ironside."

The prime-time crime drama is a revamped version of a '60s- and '70s-era TV series featuring a police detective in a wheelchair.

"The role is definitely my typecast," said DeVinny, who served a 15-month tour to Iraq's Al Dora province from 2006 to 2007.

"I don't think it's going to be a stretch."

DeVinny's role involves only a couple of lines and scenes.

It's a start, he says - one that came sooner than he anticipated.

The Grand Junction native and graduate of American Academy of Dramatic Arts has spent most of his short acting career on theater stages.

He landed his first TV role on his second audition for a major network.

"It's a small part, but there is no small part - only small actors," he said. "I'm going to hit this one out of the park and see where it goes."

DeVinny has a lead role in "Tracers," a play about Vietnam-era soldiers showing at the United States Veterans' Artist Alliance Theater.

Acting in the play is "a dream come true," DeVinny said.

"I've always wanted to do this play," he said. "It's about Vietnam veterans both overseas and when they get back, dealing with the VA and with their own mental psychosis, and nobody knowing what PTSD is at the time."

DeVinny plays an intellectual infantryman who loses several friends in combat.

For DeVinny, who lost several comrades in combat - including a close friend, Staff Sgt. Michael Cardenaz - the role was nearly a custom fit.

"I suffered a lot of loss," DeVinny said. "For a long time, I was the same way as my character.

"I didn't want to let people get close."

After his work with "Tracers" is through, DeVinny plans to devote his energy to landing TV and movie roles.

When he's not on set or stage, you can find him working as a handyman to make ends meet.

"I don't care about money," he said. "I just really want to find - and what I have found - is happiness and peace of mind. I don't want to lose that.

"When you come back from overseas, so many people just shut down. It's up to the soldier, seaman, Marine to find something in themselves to keep going forward.

"I found that. I don't think everybody is able to find that."

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