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News > AFCENT country band rocks U.S. Army troops in Mosul, Iraq
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Service members dance to country band
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq – Soldiers assigned to 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, line dance to a rendition of “Sweet Home Alabama” performed by the U.S. Air Force’s Central band, "Wild Blue Country" during a concert at the Contingency Operating Site Marez gym, April 29, 2011. The Air Force band from Colorado Springs, Colo. performed popular country songs during a two-hour concert for the deployed Fort Hood troopers and civilians. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Terence Ewings, 4th AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div., USD-N)
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AFCENT country band rocks U.S. Army troops in Mosul, Iraq

Posted 5/9/2011   Updated 5/9/2011 Email story   Print story


by Spc. Terence Ewings
4th Advise and Assist Brigade Public Affairs, 1st Cavalry Division, U.S. Division-North

5/9/2011 - Contingency Operating Site Marez, Iraq -- The U.S. Air Forces Central band, "Wild Blue Country" performed for Soldiers assigned to 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and civilian contractors at the Contingency Operating Base Marez main gym, April 29.

Under the gym's bright fluorescent lights, the Air Force band performed popular country songs to provide entertainment and boost the morale of deployed Fort Hood troopers and civilians.

"It's nice to be able to relax and enjoy some good American music," said Spc. Matthew Coons, a motor transport operator assigned to Forward Support Company E, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th AAB.

Coons and his "battle buddy," Spc. Donald McDonald, arrived early to the gym to ensure they had good seats to get the most out of the live concert experience.

Both Soldiers usually work long shifts, either conducting maintenance on tactical vehicles in the motor pool or conducting mounted patrols to deliver equipment and supplies to different remote installations and patrol bases across Ninewa province.
"This is the first concert I've had the chance to attend, and it's great to see these guys come over here and play for us," said Coons, a native of Tipton, Mo.

The small crowd of listeners who initially arrived at the start of the performance grew into a large audience that filled the bleachers and surrounded the basketball court that housed the concert.

Listening to popular songs like Toby Keith's "American Soldier" and "My Kinda Party" by Jason Aldean, the Soldiers swayed, shouted and sang along with the country band from Colorado Springs, Colo.

After the band played a rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama", Soldiers and civilians joined one another for a line dance on the basketball court.

"Playing for the troops is one of my favorite things to do because it gives these guys a chance to relax and have a little piece of home here," said Senior Master Sgt. Jerome Oddo, Wild Blue Country's bass guitarist, vocalist and superintendent.

Wild Blue Country has performed for deployed service members and civilians in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Germany and is currently on a 10-day tour to entertain service members stationed in Iraq.

"Troops are under a lot of pressure in a deployed environment," said Oddo, a native of Edgewater, Fla. "We just want to be able to help them recharge and lift their spirits with some good country music."

After their performance, the audience gave the band a standing ovation and 4th AAB executive officer Lt. Col. Monte Rone presented the band members with a certificate of appreciation.

Prior to departing the gymnasium, Soldiers had the opportunity to take a picture with the group and receive band's autographed CD.

"It was nice to receive this kind of entertainment in between our daily missions," said McDonald, a native of Kerrville, Texas. "It made my day."

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