News: Soldier sings his way through deployment
Story by Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger
By Sgt. Daniel Blottenberger
18th Military Police Brigade
BAGHDAD – At the age of four, he began his singing career by singing gospel music at his local church in Indianapolis.
Now at the age of 21 he finds himself on center stage, showing off his vocal abilities on numerous occasions.
"It is just something I love to do," said Sgt. Victor Cole, who enlisted in the Army as a human resources sergeant in 2005. "Singing and writing music calms me down and is just something I do that gets my mind off of the everyday stresses of being deployed."
Since arriving in Iraq in December 2007 with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 716th Military Police Battalion, Cole has been tasked with not only taking care of the Soldiers in his battalion's human resources needs but also with singing the national anthem at ceremonies his battalion conducts.
His talents became quickly noticed by his brigade command sergeant major recently during a non-commissioned officer induction ceremony.
"When I was told Cole was going to sing the national anthem at the induction ceremony, I was concerned," said Command Sgt. Maj. Bernard McPherson, command sergeant major 18th Military Police Brigade, and native of Orangeburg, S.C. "I had never heard him sing a note, and the significance of the national anthem sung in a cappella was strategic."
McPherson, however, was reassured by Cole's battalion command sergeant major that he had nothing to worry about.
"I was still nervous," said McPherson, "until I heard him sing a few notes in rehearsal. All it took for me to hear were a few notes. After hearing Cole's melodic, clear and rich voice, my worries were belayed."
McPherson said Cole was truly a gifted and talented NCO and that he expected an American Idol tryout sometime in his future.
With Cole's lifelong goal of being a singer, he said he plans on attending the American Idol competition when he returns from his Iraq deployment.
"My lifelong goal is to become a professional singer," said Cole. "I plan to attend the 2009 American Idol competition when I return from my Iraq tour."
While deployed, Cole said he finds himself singing all day long at work, and when he gets time off, he sings competitively at the Morale Welfare and Recreation Centers on the camp.
Cole has won karaoke competitions at some of the Victory Base Complex MWR sponsored events, but that is very minor compared to some of the events he has performed at in the past.
When Cole was younger, he traveled around to different cities and states performing.
"When I was younger, singing was just something I did because I loved doing it," said Cole. "Now it is completely different. I want to make a career out of it."
Cole said he has made a few changes in his military career to help better his chances of becoming a professional singer.
"I love my job in the Army," said Cole, "but I've always wanted to be a singer. I had the chance to go overseas on assignment, but I changed that to stay in the states so I could audition for American Idol."
Even though Cole loves both singing and being a part of the military, he still feels they are two very separate worlds for him; however, they are both places he has been very successful in.
"My biggest accomplishment in the Army is getting promoted to the rank of sergeant," said Cole, of his recent promotion.
For his singing career Cole sang at events growing up such as: the Olympic Trials in 2004 in Indianapolis, Indiana Pacer games, Indianapolis Colts games, and he said one of his biggest accomplishments was winning a Show Time singing competition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y.
Throughout his music career, Cole has been singing gospel, rhythm & blues, and blues and has been very successful thus far at doing so. He said he decided to join the Army because of the stability that comes with being in the Army for military families .
"I joined the Army in my Junior year of high school in order to support my now 3-year-old daughter," said Cole, who reenlisted recently to continue serving for another six years.
He feels that even though it is music that drives him to get through the long 15-month deployment, his daughter gives him the passion to continue with both careers.
"Music is what drives me to continue, as well as the passion that I have to provide a good life for my daughter," said Cole, adding that he writes music and sings constantly while he's in Iraq to set himself up for success. When he returns from Iraq, his goal is to receive his own record deal one day.
The 716th MP Bn. is deployed from Fort Campbell, Ky., and is currently assigned to the 18th Military Police Brigade, Multi-National Division – Baghdad.