Army major clowns around at FOB Lightning
April 8, 2013
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Lightning took a well deserved break for a night of entertainment hosted by the FOB's own resident clown, March 31.
U.S. Army Maj. Bruce Townley, a native of Chamois, Mo., and an adviser to the Afghan National Army 203rd Corps' Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cypher office, kept his audience laughing with magic tricks, an intricate juggling act and a few antics only a professionally-trained clown could pull off.
"This was a great way to unwind and spend some quality time with friends and co-workers on this Easter Sunday," said Col. Terry Cook, commander, 4th Battalion, 1st Armored Division.
Performing for a nearly-packed house in a makeshift theatre at the FOB's dining facility, Townley was in his element.
"Other larger bases and FOB's get the United Service Organizations shows, so I'm just glad that I had the skillset to do this show," Townley said. "It's good to be able to take soldiers who normally have a busy, task-oriented day and give them a little bit of a break and a chance to laugh."
Townley, an alumnus of the acclaimed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, has been performing for military audiences since his enlisted days in the Navy.
"Maj. Townley is a very talented officer and an equally talented performer," said Brig. Gen. Clarence K. Chinn, deputy commanding general of Afghan Development South, Combined Joint Task Force-101, Regional Command-East, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Chinn became an unsuspecting participant in one of Townley's magic tricks, finding an audience-chosen king of hearts across the room from the stage.
"Since I'm on his staff, he had actually seen me do some magic during a few of our briefings," said Townley. "Our briefings can get quite long and by the time we get to the G6 it can feel like the seventh inning stretch, so sometimes I'll do a magic trick to kick-off my brief."
The show was a well-deserved break for the soldiers on FOB Lightning, who put in long hours every day advising the Afghan National Security Forces in order to ensure a smooth transition as International Security Assistance Forces transfer security and governance to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.