'Black Jack Runway' models show off the latest to fashion-starved troops
November 28, 2007
FORWARD OPERATING BASE PROSPERITY, Iraq - After months of preparation and waiting for Internet-ordered outfits and accessories to be delivered, the Black Jack Runway cast and crew finally put on their highly anticipated performance on in front of a standing-room-only audience at the Black Jack Bistro Dining Facility here, Nov. 22.
"I want [people] to come to the show and feel like they have transported themselves into a location unknown - other than Iraq, and have a good time," said Wichita Falls, Texas Capt. Courtney Gary, the assistant logistics officer for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "I think this is important because one: it's the holidays, and we don't get to spend it at home with our families ... so spending it with our extended families in a good environment, I think that makes it a big deal."
The master and mistress of ceremony, Maj. Michael Duck and Capt. Ebony Thomas, introduced all 18 models through three different wardrobe changes. Each model was tasked with choosing two outfits they had to buy and another they had to make from local purchases. The project had a behind-the-scenes crew of more than 30 Soldiers who helped build the catwalk, served as hair and make-up artists, disc jockey and set coordinators.
In between outfit changes, there were musical performances from the Haifa Street Project Band, Black Jack Idol winner, Pfc. Daniel Jens of 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, and 15th Brigade Support Battalion's Spc. Marco Sanchez.
For one of the models, Staff Sgt. Pejetta Thomas, getting the chance to showcase her modeling talent was simply "fun," but getting to feel like a lady was the best part.
"It's like getting ready for a wedding," said the brigade's mailroom noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "I get to put on clothes and act like a lady. We wear boots every day. [With this] we get to shave our legs and act like a lady for a while."
According to one of the models, Maj. Latisha Wayne, who is a 2nd BCT Plans officer, the night was supposed to not only satisfy that, but also to showcase some of the fashion trends the Soldiers may be unaware of after their 15-month deployment.
"A lot of us have put a lot of time and money as far as buying outfits - trying to make sure we have something to show all the Soldiers here what we are going to wear when we get back to the states," said the Chicago native.
Capt. Tev Skinner, HHC, 15th BSB's Supply and Services officer from Washington D.C., said he decided to be a model simply because he was asked to by the event's coordinators.
"I never thought I'd be doing this," he said. "Hey, I just will go out and have a good time."
The show proved to be successful, with audience members such as Col. Bryan Roberts, the 2nd BCT commander, calling the show was "fantastic."
"There were a lot of beautiful models with a lot of talent ... great performance," he said. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world. This is what Black Jack is all about."