By Robert Dozier, U.S. Army Installation Management CommandSeptember 19, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO (September 18, 2013) - - Thirty-four Soldiers returned to historic Fort Sam Houston Theatre for the final applause in their 2012 -- 2013 Ready and Resilient Soldier Show. The U.S. Army Installation Command sponsored show, by Soldiers and for Soldiers, brought and delivered a message designed to reverberate from Army garrisons across the nation and inspire the men and women of the armed forces to remain strong.
"I've seen more places, people and culture than I could have imagined," said SPC Marvin Forbes from Fort Leonard Wood. "There is no more professional, diverse and exciting group I've ever had the privilege to walk with."
The 2013 U. S. Army Soldier Show, the 30th consecutive annual show of the modern era, has performed over 60 shows during this season of sequester and furloughs. One of the themes in the show was recognition of the Gold Star families of fallen Soldiers on the battlefield.
"In spite of ups and downs, long hours and miles and miles on the road, there is nothing to describe the feeling of giving back to Gold Star families," said SPC Janeen Phelps from Las Vegas. "This was my first Soldier Show experience and it was amazing. I'm afraid I'll never be able to experience our kind of team and teamwork at this level again."
The roster consists of 34 performers and technicians, chosen from applications sent from Soldiers, Army Reserve and National Guard from all around the nation.
"After traveling 33,000 miles and setting up 38 tons of equipment, it is my honor to present to you your 2013 United States Army Soldier Show," said BG Curt A. Rauhut, IMCOM G8 director for resource management, who served as host and kicked the show into gear. The audience was not disappointed.
This year's edition of the popular variety entertainment program included strong and talented singers, who doubled as dancers on most numbers. Some performers also strutted their guitar skills; commanding their tour on stage. In one number, it seemed everyone got a chance at urban makeshift percussion, to the delight of the audience.
"This tour has been honorable, rewarding and therapeutic," said MSG Renee Hamilton from the Bay Area in California. "Our obligation was to deliver the Ready and Resilient message, but the tour was personally enjoyable for me. Bottom line -- somebody's going to smile at the end of the day."
Soldier Show 2013 introduced a new virtual character SARGE, or Speech Activated Reconnaissance Gathering Entity, who performed as an electronic application designed to deliver information to various electronic devices. SARGE spoke directly to the Soldier's needs in dealing with everyday life.
"Yes, like in the active duty Army, we've all seen the pain and the joy left on the stage," said Forbes. "But there is no feeling like the feeling of inspiring others to do what we do."
The Soldier Show has been an entertainment staple for years and this cast and crew has been performing since April, when they opened the season at Fort Sam Houston Theatre. On hand for this performance were representatives of the Society for the Preservation of Fort Sam Houston and the San Antonio Fiesta Commission.
"Due to the perseverance of the Society for the Preservation of Fort Sam Houston's, many buildings here on post have been rehabilitated for the future," said Rauhut. "Some of you may remember a couple of years ago; this theater was in great need of repair. Thanks in large part to the society, we've been able to save this great historic building and put it into service for Army Entertainment.
"In addition, we've been honored and delighted to have partnered with the Fiesta Commission community and what a great experience for our Soldiers to perform at the Alamo last spring," continued Rauhut. "We want to thank the commission for embracing the Soldier Show and including us in your San Antonio traditions."
BG Rauhut presented commemorative plaques to both Joan Gaither, President of the Society for the Preservation of Fort Sam Houston; and to Jack Hebdon, President of the San Antonio Fiesta Commission.
But after all was said and done, the Soldier Show is about delivering the music to Soldiers and their Families.
"This tour was physically challenging with all the set-ups and tear-downs," said Hamilton. "It's such an honor, duty and sacrifice to pay your dues through your talent to deliver the message.
"These are truly the best and finest Soldiers in our U.S. Army," said Rauhut. "I want to congratulate them for their hard work and dedication."
Music and entertainment has been a major part of Morale, Welfare and Recreation since Army private Irving Berlin wrote a song in 1918 for an early all-Soldier review. Berlin inspired a good show then and keeps on inspiring Soldier performers today.
"We felt the pressure to keep the Soldier Show tradition going," said Hamilton. "It was definitely worth the year -- worth it beyond measure,"
For more information about the Soldier Show and all the other programs and events offered by and for Soldiers, go to http://www.ArmyEntertainment.net.
Photos from this show can be viewed on the IMCOM photo site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/imcom/sets/72157635635322366/