News: CENTAF Band performs for service members
Story by Staff Sgt. Tony Spain
By Army Sgt. Tony J. Spain
22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The U.S. Central Command Air Forces' Band performed two concerts for deployed service members at the Kandahar Airfield "Boardwalk" July 29 and 30. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen were entertained by a variety of music including: Latin, rhythm and blues, rock, jazz, disco and country.
Audiences were encouraged to participate and several were brought on stage throughout the evening to sing along, dance or play an instrument.
One member of the audience had seen the band before and waited to approach the stage for his chance to play the cowbell to the song "Sweet Home Alabama."
"I have been looking forward to this since I saw them play in Qatar while I was on pass," said Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Bisbee, Afghan Regional Security Integration Command-South. "Someone else got up there when I was in Qatar. I was waiting for the opportunity."
The CENTAF Band is assigned to the Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest-Asia and regularly tours through their area of responsibility playing numerous shows.
"It is hard to say how many shows we have done. We travel around to different units and squadrons and do small shows for them," said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Miles, vocalist and non-commissioned officer in charge. "We have been to several forward operating bases in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Unlike most bands, which play at t larger facilities like Bagram and Kandahar, the CENTAF Band has made it to some of the smaller places in Afghanistan.
Miles stated with the help of the Army they have even been on convoys to get to shows. He also said riding through enemy territory can be scary at times but they know they're safe with the Army.
"We saddle up in (Interceptor Body Armor), put on our helmets and go do it. The Army has really stepped up and taken the Air Force in protecting us from FOB (forward operating base) to FOB," said Miles. "It has been cool chilling with the Army; they have been just great."
Miles also said performing for the deployed troops can be a satisfying experience.
"It is exciting and rewarding to come out here and see what they actually do. You get more of an appreciation for what they do and to know they are out here, 15 months, 18 months. It is like, 'wow!', we get to bring something from home and get to take their mind off of it for a small amount of time, that is rewarding and feels good," said Miles.
"In some of these remote places there is no entertainment other than a computer and maybe a movie. It really counts and matters what we do, and we get to see first hand what we do for them," he said.
Soldiers like Bisbee who spend a lot of time at some of the outer FOBs and do not get to see much entertainment, think groups like the CENTAF Band can be great for morale.
"It means a lot. It brings a bit of home and they are contributing to the war effort in their own way bringing their special talents to brighten our day," said Bisbee. "It really does mean a lot to me."
Miles and the CENTAF Band are also grateful for Soldiers like Bisbee and are happy to perform for them.
"We appreciate what you do and we respect it. You guys are professional and we are just glad to contribute to your morale," said Miles. "I hope you appreciate it and come back home safely. God bless you."