JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The Red Tail 5/6 Executive Council held a talent show in which service members sang, danced, played instruments and otherwise performed at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation east Oct. 24 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Every service's mission is different, but a morale event such as the talent show unifies and shows service members they can work together as one, said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Alcocer, a superintendent with the 332nd Expeditionary Aero Medical Squadron and 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group attached to the 332nd Expeditionary Air Wing.
Talent shows are important because they showcase the talents throughout the military family, said Alcocer, a San Antonio native. They lift the morale of all individuals involved in the mission, he said.

"I sang 'At this moment' by Billy Vera and the Beaters," he said. "Singing and playing instruments runs in my family."
Alcocer said he practiced for a few months by singing karaoke at the H-6 Recreation Center. He said when he walked to the stage, he believed the crowd wondered what an old, senior noncommissioned officer had to offer. Nobody knows what an individual can do until they have performed, he said.

Spc. Stephen L. Bray, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist with the 248th Area Support Medical Company, out of Marietta, Ga., and a Kingston, Ga., native, said service members appreciate opportunities to showcase their talents. He said he wanted to display what is on the other side of the uniform.

"There is a lot of wonderful talent in the military," said Bray.
Bray played acoustic guitar and sang, "This Time," a song he wrote four days before the competition and practiced roughly six times, he said.
"I felt that I did pretty well even though I didn't win," said Bray. "To me, winning is in the eye of the beholder. Garth Brooks lost the Colgate Country Showdown and in my opinion, he is still one of the greatest performing entertainers on earth."

Pfc. Miguel A. Marrero, a 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) support technician with the 13th ESC out of Fort Hood, Texas, and a Jamaica Queens, N.Y., native, said loneliness is an issue in Iraq, and music can help service members share their thoughts and interact with each other. A talent such as music can help keep their minds focused, he said.

"(I) performed my original song called 'Drop,'" said Marrero, who placed third in the competition. "I have been doing music since I was eight years old and I wanted to show off my talent."
He said he practiced his event for two months before the talent show, and hopes more talent shows will happen in the future.
Talent shows lower stress, strengthen relationships in country and allow service members to have a good time, he said.

Alcocer said the competition was impressive.
"From comedians, magicians, rappers, bands, and singers as well as others; it was great," Alcocer said.
The show featured 21 acts, with Sgt. Marcus D. Lindsey, a logistics NCO and an Anderson, Ind., native and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dennis A. White, an assistant logistics officer and a Camby, Ind., native, both with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Combat Aviation Brigade-Task Force 38, out of Shelbyville, Ind., winning second place for singing "Can you stay in the rain'" by Boyz II Men a cappella.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 William S. Anderson, a medical evacuation pilot with 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation, out of Salem, Ore., and a Canby, Ore., native, won first place at the talent show for a combination magic and comedy skit.