By 1LT Patrick MaloneyMarch 11, 2013
CAMP REDLEG, United Arab Emirates (March 11, 2013) -- The 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment played host to the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band on Camp Redleg, Feb. 28.
The AMC Band performs worldwide for the U.S. military and allies. During the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2013, they performed 139 musical missions.
Maj. Derrick Shaw, the U.S. Army Central Band's liaison officer and a native of Atlanta, Ga., envisioned the plan to fly the band out to Camp Redleg and succeeded with the help of 1st Sgt. James Cardo, the acting commander of the AMC Band.
It was no small feat to move the band from their home station of Redstone Arsenal, Ala. to Camp Redleg, UAE. In their eyes, all of the effort put behind the planning of logistics and time spent making this plan come to fruition are all worth it, if they can help even just one of the "mission ready" Soldiers through their current deployment.
"We, [the AMC Band], had Soldiers interested in going on this mission and they personally requested to report early or postpone their orders to come [on the mission] because it's what they wanted to do," said Cardo of his Soldiers' commitment to the mission of the AMC band, which is to "provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations to instill in our forces the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and promote our national interests at home and abroad," according to the band's official website.
Their efforts were definitely appreciated by the members of 2-18th FAR.
"We don't get a lot of live performances out here," said Staff Sgt. Jessica Estrada, a native of Cornville, Ariz.
"How often do you get to see a live show from a first rate band while on deployment?" added Capt. Stephen Petersen, a native of Sacramento, Calif. and assistant operations officer for 2-18th FAR.
Fellow "mission ready" Soldiers shared the same sentiments and their eagerness was seen by their high attendance during the concert.
The AMC Band's performance marked the first time ever that an outside organization came to Camp Redleg to perform for the "mission ready" Soldiers and their coalition partners. The day marked quite a few firsts for 2-18th FAR and the AMC Band.
"As far as our records show, we are the first U.S. Army band in UAE," Cardo said.
The performances started at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of assembled flat racks. The drummer was situated slightly behind the stage on the bed of a 5-ton truck while the rest of the band and equipment rested on the flat racks. The venue was lined with Army trucks and brightly lit with generator light sets focused on the stage.
The air was full of energy and excitement as Soldiers started to pack in to watch and listen to the AMC Band. The crowd was composed of members of the Dutch, New Zealand, British, and Australian defense forces and, of course, members from 2-18th FAR. The Four Star Jazz Orchestra kicked off the night's festivities with their rendition of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" and followed with a lively collection of Latin hits.
"[The performance] was good, high energy, everybody seemed to be having a good time," said Estrada.
While the band paused to change sets for their second act, the Tennessee River Ramblers took the stage to perform in the middle of the crowd. Their jazzy New Orleans style musical performance was well received by the crowd who responded by dancing alongside the band members. The band and the crowd were feeding off each others energy.
The stage having been set, Raw Materiel, the AMC's show band, came on and rocked Camp Redleg with some pop tunes, modern and classic rock hits.
When the performance ended, everyone went back to work or to their tents, but the effects from the concert will be felt for a long time. "It was a real boost to morale," said Peterson.
Shaw, Cardo and their AMC Band had a lasting impact on Camp Redleg.
"It's what we're supposed to be doing, taking care of you guys," Shaw said remarking on the enormity of the band's job. "The Army Materiel Command Band certainly did take care of 2-18th FAR with their recent visit, a visit that won't soon be forgotten by all the "mission ready" Soldiers in attendance."