SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 29, 2012 -- After a nine-month world tour performing for fellow Soldiers and their families, Spc. Justin Easter returns to Fort Bliss, Texas to continue his military duties and training, having fulfilled a personal dream.
Inspired to sing in church by his grandfather, Easter dreamed of pursuing a musical career. However, he put that dream on the back burner when he joined the U.S. Army during college, or so he thought.
After Easter's friends revealed his singing talent to their Advanced Individual Training (AIT) commander, Easter was selected to perform the national anthem at his AIT graduation, setting him on a path to putting his talent to use in the U.S. Army Soldier Show.
U.S. Army active duty, National Guard and Reserve members are eligible to be nominated for the Soldier Show and submit video auditions for Army Entertainment's consideration. The Installation Management Command's Soldier Show auditions require Soldiers to demonstrate more than their singing and performing talents alone. Those selected to the Soldier Show must also demonstrate excellence in their military duties and basic soldiering skills.
"The 25 Soldiers in the cast are hyper-motivated," said Sgt. Drake DeLucca, Soldier Show cast member. "They don't just do their jobs, they do it with a zest and a zeal that sets them apart from the rest."
Soldiers regularly worked 12- to 16-hour days assembling and tearing down stage sets both before and after 90-minute performances.
"Being a Soldier and a performer is kind of an odd balance, but you'd be surprised at how well it goes hand in hand," said Easter.
As one of the stars of the 2012 Soldier Show, Easter maintained a fast-paced performance schedule in addition to being on-call for his medical expertise whenever necessary.
"Anything that happens on the show; anybody gets hurt; any safety brief that needs to be done, they'll ask me to do it," said Easter. "One time a Soldier was rather dehydrated, so I did an assessment and found it necessary to administer fluids."
With the 2012 Soldier Show tour wrapped, Easter has fulfilled his promise to his grandfather in pursuing his musical passion, while following in his father's footsteps of military service.
"Even though I joined the Army, that doesn't mean it's too late to be who I really am, to give everything that I have versus just the medical skills that I was taught," Easter said. "People see me on stage and see their own dreams and their aspirations realized."
Check out this video to see Spc. Easter's Soldier Show story: http://youtu.be/eorfcqQ3DkA