Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Country music star Toby Keith performs for Marines in southern Afghanistan

April 25, 2009
Story by: Lance Cpl. Ronald W. Stauffer

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Country music star Toby Keith rocked the sands of southern Afghanistan while performing for service members at forward operating bases Bakwa and Delaram, and Camp Leatherneck, in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, April 23, 2009.

At Camp Leatherneck, about 2,000 concertgoers, consisting mainly of U.S. Marines and a number of Navy, Army, Air Force service members and civilian contractors, as well as foreign military members, crowded around the small stage cheering as Toby Keith and The Easy Money Band took the stage.

One song fittingly performed for the Marines and possibly loud enough to be heard for miles was “The Taliban Song,” stirring the crowd into a frenzy, encouraging them to sing along.

“I wish that he would have sung more songs, but I enjoyed every one he did, especially The Taliban Song,” said Lance Cpl. Jennifer N. Hays, a radio operator assigned to Headquarters Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 3. “It made being out here surreal because everything’s been so real for the last six months. It was nice for us to be able to take our minds off things at least a little while.”

Keith, a strong supporter of the U.S. military, donned a tri-colored camouflage uniform and a 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), baseball cap, which was presented to him at an acoustic performance earlier that day at FOB Delaram.

“It was pretty big for the small FOBs because they’re not used to seeing stuff like that regularly,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Francisco Olmos, the Marine Corps Community Service chief assigned to Headquarters Co., CLB-3. “Since two of the (United Service Organizations) shows had been cancelled previously, it was a good thing that it came through and the feedback was excellent.”

Olmos said he has received feedback from family members stating how happy their service members were with the experience.

Although Keith let his songs do most of the talking, he did manage to get a few words out over the loud roar of the crowd.

“Thanks for your service,” Keith said. “That’s why I’m here, by God. I appreciate ya.”

Another patriotic song performed by Keith was “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” leaving many Marines holding their covers high in the air to show their appreciation.

“It was a success from start to finish, and it was a great thing to do,” Olmos said. “It’s a good way to go home and end the tour out here by bringing a morale booster this big out here for the war fighters.”

Posted by Picasa