"It's important for everybody to realize the debt that we owe those who serve this nation. Without the service of our veterans, we wouldn't have the freedoms we enjoy today...Their bravery, their resourcefulness and their patriotism mark them as our nation's finest citizens.
- Veterans Affairs secretary, Dr. James B. Peake
VA Secretary: America keeps Lincoln's promise to veterans
Operation Rising Star Finals 2008
What is it?
Operation Rising Star is a competition, modeled after American Idol, open to all Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers for all branches of service. This year was the first time military family members, 18 years and older, were eligible to compete.
The 2008 Operation Rising Star will be announced Nov. 14, based on votes from the live audience, online votes and celebrity judges. This years' judges are Grammy-nominated Latin Christian recording artist Jaci Velasquez; Nigel Caaro, top reality television producer from America's Got Talent; and retired Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley.
What has the Army done?
Forty-seven installations, camps and forward operating bases held competitions. Those winners sent videos to be judged by Army Entertainment, and 12 semifinalists were selected to compete from Nov. 12-14 at Fort Belvoir, Va. The competition began Nov. 12 on the Wallace Theater stage, where judges narrowed the group to six finalists. They will each perform a 90-second song with a live band Nov. 13, during a 60-minute live-to-satellite show. Watch live online at 1 p.m. EST, and vote at the Operation Rising Star Web site .
The winner will be revealed during the final show at 1 p.m. EST Nov. 14 on the Pentagon Channel.
On military installations, the show will be available on the Armed Forces Networks.
2008 Operation Rising Star Semifinalists
- Staff Sgt. Darius Ramos from Brussels, Belgium
- Family member Joyce Dodson from Schweinfurt, Germany
- Pfc. Star Exum from USAG Camp Red Cloud, Korea
- Family member Indirah Tirso from Tori Station, Japan
- Spc. Cyril Powell from Fort Bragg, N.C.
- Family member Fatima McElveen from Fort Campbell, Ky.
- Family member Amy Downing from Fort Carson, Colo.
- Family member Jill Charles from Fort Hood, Texas
- Staff Sgt. Victor Trinidad from Fort Lewis, Wash.
- Capt. Lisa Kopczynski (Army National Guard) from Joint Base Balad, Iraq
- Capt. April McDonald from Camp Stryker, Iraq
- Air Force Staff Sgt. Dirik Cole from Soto Cano, Honduras
The grand prize for this year's top performer is an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles, Calif., to record a three-song demo CD. The experience includes professional studio time and one-on-one time with music executives who will coach the winner in music arrangement, vocals, mixing and mastering. Second and third prizes at the televised finals are $1,000 and $500 awards.
To view and vote online: Operation Rising Star Web site
- 2008 Strategic Communication Guide - Read the 2008 Army Strategic Communication Guide for key messages and updates
- Strategic Communication Coordination Group (SCCG) Workspace
- Army Public Affairs Portal
- Stories of Valor
- Speaker's Toolkit
- Information Papers with " 2008 Army Posture Statement"