By Christine JuneJuly 11, 2007
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Ball caps flew onto the dance floor as the country-western band, Matt Poss & the Wild Bunch, performed their original song, "Rolling Thunder," at the Vogelweh Kazabra Club here.
"It was respect for the guys who died," said Pfc. Josh Merle, 272nd Military Police Company, referring to comrades who fell in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Matthew "Matt Poss" Passalacqua wrote the song about a motorcycle club - Rolling Thunder - who revved their engines to drown out noise from protesters at military funerals in his hometown of Teutopolis, Ill.
"It's an honor to play for them (servicemembers); they are the reason why we are over here, Poss said. "We want them to know that the country cares about what they are doing."
Matt Poss & the Wild Band are making their second trip to Europe, courtesy of Armed Forces Entertainment, including the show at the Army's Kazabra Club.
The club's manager, Jutta Morgan, said she couldn't wait for them to return.
"When they were here before, the customers just didn't want them to leave," she said.
Soon after arriving to begin their tour, the band presented a $2,500 check to the Wounded Warrior Ministry Center on Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. This money was raised during a benefit concert they held June 10 in Teutopolis.
"This money will be used to buy civilian clothing for wounded warriors who come through (LRMC) from operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom," said Chaplain (Col.) James Griffith, the hospital's Clinical Pastoral Services chief, to band members during the check presentation.
The band also visited patients like Air Force Staff Sgt. Angel Wetzel, from the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, currently in Iraq, and Spc. Patrick Huizar, with the 66th Military Police Company in Afghanistan, at the Medical Transition Detachment on Kleber Kaserne.
While there, Poss and lead guitarist, Marty Williamson -borrowing the detachment's guitar - played an impromptu concert requested by servicemembers who are outpatients awaiting medical appointments at LRMC.
"Thank you so much for coming," said the detachment's commander, Capt. Katrina Gawlik, to the band as they left. "You boosted a lot of spirits today; I know you boosted mine."
During this tour, the band will perform several gigs in Germany, England and Belgium.