• Jose Flores, a lab technician at the Contingency Operating Base Speicher Waste Department who calls Bellmore, N.Y., home, sings “His Eye is on the Sparrow” during a talent show at the Contingency Operating Base Speicher Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center in Salah ad Din province, Iraq, July 22, 2011. Flores took first place in the competition after a standing ovation from the audience.

    COB Speicher Soldiers, civilians share talents

    Jose Flores, a lab technician at the Contingency Operating Base Speicher Waste Department who calls Bellmore, N.Y., home, sings “His Eye is on the Sparrow” during a talent show at the Contingency Operating Base Speicher Morale, Welfare and...

  • Staff Sergeant Alvin Swayzer, and infantryman assigned to Company D, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, showcases his original hip-hop rhymes for a judge’s panel and audience made up of service members and civilians deployed to northern Iraq during a talent show at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, July 22, 2011.

    COB Speicher Soldiers, civilians share talents

    Staff Sergeant Alvin Swayzer, and infantryman assigned to Company D, Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, showcases his original hip-hop rhymes for a judge’s panel and audience made up of service members and civilians deployed to...

  • Sergeant Tanicia Shepherd, 820th Signal Company, 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade, sings “Unthinkable” by Alicia Keys during a talent show at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, July 22, 2011. During the show, Shepherd, who hails from Dallas, and other service members and civilians deployed in support of Operation New Dawn showcased their talents for 70-plus audience members.

    COB Speicher Soldiers, civilians share talents

    Sergeant Tanicia Shepherd, 820th Signal Company, 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade, sings “Unthinkable” by Alicia Keys during a talent show at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, July 22, 2011. During the show...

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq " Service members and civilians deployed to northern Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn spent a night showcasing their talents at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, July 22.
Contestants at the base talent show displayed vocal talents ranging from R&B;to Rap to Gospel as they vied for the approval of the judges and audience.
“We had a lot of talented people come out to perform,” said Sgt. Maj. Jerry Eddin, 4th Infantry Division and U.S. Division " North senior enlisted advisor for force protection, who served as a judge for the event. “A lot of people were willing to share their gifts and I think everyone enjoyed it. Soldiers need events like this out here, it brings them back home.”
Eddin said he hoped Soldiers would continue using their gifts to lift their comrades’ spirits over the course of their deployment.
“It’s great to get up and sing in front of people,” said Jose Flores, a lab technician for the COB Speicher Waste Department, who won the competition. “I came back to Iraq not just because of a job, but because I’m a veteran and I wanted to support the troops, and I really think I was able to raise some spirits tonight.”
The audience offered Flores, or “Flo” to his fans, a standing ovation for his rendition of “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”
“Nothing beats a good gospel song,” said Flores, who calls Bellmore, N.Y., home. “I’ve been in country now for about two weeks and it just hit me when I saw the signs for the talent show that I should get up and sing for everybody. I hope I was able to lift their spirits and remind them of better things.”
Service members deployed away from their homes and Families need events like the talent show give them a brief reprieve from the rigors of their daily tasks, said Pvt. Isaiah Plummer, Company E, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
“Everybody did a really good job tonight,” said Plummer, who hails from Virginia Beach, Va. “I think everybody that went up on stage had a good time, and I know we had a great time in the audience.”
Plummer said he hopes to see more opportunities for service members to socialize and share their talents in the future.
“We need to be able to relax and mix it up with our peers and everybody out here on the COB,” said Plummer. “We have to remember that there is more to life than just the work we are doing out here.”

Page last updated Thu July 28th, 2011 at 00:00