News: Reserve Generation rocks 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division
By Spc. Jared Eastman
BAGHDAD — Soldiers from 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division rocked out with Armed Forces Central band Reserve Generation at Contingency Operating Site Falcon, April 9.
"The concert was awesome," said Capt. Tobyas Brazzle, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st AAB automations officer, and a Philadelphia, Miss., native. "It's something to get away from what we do every day. When you go outside and listen to a band, you don't forget about where you are at, but you feel appreciated and you appreciate what they come and do for you."
The concert, planned by the brigade's personnel shop, featured favorites such as "Sweet Home, Alabama" and "Superstitious."
"It's been wonderful playing out here for the Soldiers," said Airman 1st Class Jill Diem, vocalist for Reserve Generation, and a Minneapolis, Minn., native. "This experience has been the most amazing of my life — to bring morale to the troops, especially on the smaller bases that are further out here in Iraq."
"This band was formed back in January of this year," said Tech. Sgt. David Vittetoe, band percussionist. "Our guitar player had two weeks to get spun up on his training and rehearse. We put together what most groups take six months to do, in two months."
The constant traveling is enough for any troupe to feel stressed. However, for the members of Reserve Generation, this is what they joined up for.
"I've been with the Air Force for 13 years now," said Vittetoe. "I was prior Air Guard, [and] then joined the Air Force Band back in 1998. This is exactly what I went to school for. I was a music major before I went into the Air Force, [now] I get to play drums for a living and entertain folks like yourselves."
Diem echoed his thoughts.
"To be a band member you audition first, before going through recruiting," she said. "So you know going in [which] band you'll be playing for. I've been a singer my whole life. Before I joined the Air Force I did a lot of musical theater, jazz club singing, and I taught at a music college in Twin Cities, Minn."
The band has been all over the Middle East, which has given them a few interesting stories not many get to experience.
"We've been touring since February," said Diem, "And we've traveled to Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and we are going to Afghanistan. All our stops have been so varied and so different, I've really enjoyed every experience. In Kyrgyzstan we got to perform for the locals which was amazing, especially with what's going on there right now. Personally ... being a woman, traveling around Saudi Arabia [seemed] incredibly archaic and modern at the same time."
Vittetoe said he had a culture shock of his own.
"I'm from the South," he said. "I've been all over the U.S. and this is definitely different. I go from being in the comforts of my own house, playing in concert halls and high school gyms, to playing on dusty, old stages and wondering 'are we going to get mortared out here?'"
However, even with the quick deployment date, the constant traveling, and a team of varying ranks and ages, Soldiers of 1st AAB, including Brazzle, coined this one of the best shows he's seen.
"I will say that this is the best concert I've seen within my two deployments," said Brazzle, "The last [concert I went to] was hard to beat, but they were really interactive with the crowd and they seemed like they really enjoyed what they were doing."