By Spc. Terence Ewings, 4th AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div., USD-NMarch 23, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq - Greeted by guitar-strumming, drum-rocking and soul-singing troopers of the 4th Infantry Division Ivy Division band, U.S. Soldiers enjoyed a serving of live music with a side of dinner, March 14.
The "Ivy" Division band, "H.E.A.T.," played popular pop, country and rock songs for Soldiers of 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, boosting morale for the troops during a performance at Contingency Operating Site Marez Memorial Dining Facility.
"I'm a fan of music, and it was such a morale booster for these guys to come down and play for us," said Staff Sgt. Floyd Soriano, a supply sergeant assigned to 4th AAB Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
Currently serving his fourth deployment to Iraq, Soriano said he appreciated the visit from the 4th Inf. Div. musicians and believes it was a welcome addition to the dining facility.
"On my first two deployments, I never had the opportunity to meet any guest visitors or participate in the MWR events," said Soriano, a native of San Francisco, "but it's great to have things like that over here. It's like having a little piece of home in Iraq."
Equipped with clarinets, trumpets, drums and an assortment of other instruments, the Ivy Division band, based out of Fort Carson, Colo., deployed to U.S. Division-North last fall in support of Operation New Dawn.
Throughout their deployment, the band travels to multiple military bases providing entertainment for troopers in northern and southern Iraq.
"I love being able to play music in Iraq and having the opportunity to add some morale to the Soldiers," said Staff Sgt. Phil Clark, a guitarist and vocalist with H.E.A.T.
Throughout the bands' three-hour performance for "Long Knife" Soldiers of 4th AAB, H.E.A.T performed popular songs from the 80s and 90s, such as "All the Small Things" by Blink 182 and "867-5309" by Tommy Tutone.
In between mouthfuls of food and beverages, some Soldiers sang along with Clark as he performed a rendition of the Zac Brown Band's "As She's Walking Away."
"It's great when you perform and other Soldiers join in with you and start singing along," said Clark, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo. "Nowhere else in the world can you have the opportunity to do this; perform and entertain for your fellow Soldiers."
Halfway through their performance, Lt. Col. Monte Rone, executive officer, 4th AAB, joined the "Ironhorse" Soldiers onstage to present the band a certificate of appreciation for the day's entertainment.
"It's always nice to receive visitors here at Marez, and these guys did a wonderful job playing good music for the 4th AAB Soldiers," said Rone, as he presented the rock band with the certificate.
"You guys are welcome here anytime; and feel free to play until the lights go off, and they shut this place down," said Rone, a native of Muskegon Heights, Mich.
Even as the deployed Fort Hood Soldiers entered and exited the dining facility they paid close attention to their Ivy Division visitors who were still "jamming" onstage.
"It was pretty cool for them to come out here and perform for us," said Staff Sgt. Christine Martinez, a special security officer from Titusville, Fla., 4th AAB, 1st Cav. Div. "It was definitely one of the highlights of my day."