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    Lonestar rocks Joint Base Balad

    Lonestar Rocks Joint Base Balad

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Tiffany Trojca | Cody Collins of the country music band, Lonestar, sings during a performance, Jan. 21....... read more read more

    By Staff Sgt. Dilia Ayala
    332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

    JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq – Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at the Sustainer Theater Jan. 21. Outside, the mission continued, a pair of F-16s could be heard taking off in the background. Inside was anything but the same as Joint Base Balad members danced in the aisles, laughed, sang and even cried during a special morale event.

    Country music group Lonestar and comedian Greg Vaccariello performed for more than 750 service members and civilians as part of "Inaugural Tour January 2009," sponsored by Stars for Stripes; Morale, Welfare and Recreation; U.S. Army Europe; and Armed Forces Entertainment.

    Opening for Lonestar, Vaccariello got the night started by setting an upbeat mood. The audience was all smiles as the show began.

    "Greg was extremely funny. He really got things going, and most importantly, he did it without being vulgar," said Staff Sgt. Michelle Stocker, 332nd AEW protocol non-commissioned, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

    "I was really excited that Lonestar took time out of what they normally do to come and visit us," continued the Sweetwater, Texas, native. "It really helped increase morale. What made it even better is that they are from Texas."

    During the performance, Lonestar keyboardist Dean Sams shared his appreciation for service members in attendance on behalf of the band.

    "Let us share with each and every single one of y'all that we have the utmost respect for the manner in which you handle such an awesome, awesome task over here," Sams said. "You are all truly amazing people. We have these little rubber wrist bands that were give to us by Stars for Stripes and they read, 'Entertaining our Heroes' and that is exactly what each and every one of you are. We just want to say, 'thank you.'"

    After sharing his admiration, the band played "I'm already there," a song about missing the ones you love back home, which Lonestar dedicated to all those serving at JBB and throughout the area of operation.

    "We've had a lot of hits over the years, but this song really ranks on top as one of the songs that means the most to us," Sams said. "It's not because of how many records we've sold, but because of all the letters and e-mails you all have sent to us telling us how much it means to you."

    "I want to tell you, we dedicate this song to [all service members] and [their] families every time," he continued. "Thank you for the sacrifices you make. God bless each and every one of you."

    As the band played the song, service members and civilians alike listened, some cried and others sang along softly.

    "When they played 'I'm Already There,' my eyes welled up," Stocker said. "It meant a lot that they dedicated that song to us. It had the perfect meaning to how each and every one of us feel. Especially those who have been here for a while and are days from going home."

    The night continued with the band playing several well-known rock favorites and a few surprises as some service members were invited on stage to take impromptu group photos with Lonestar.

    After all was said and done, the band and Vaccariello stayed for a few hours to meet, greet and take photos with those in attendance. By midnight, Sustainer Theater stood quietly in the night sky, both on the outside and the inside.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.26.2009
    Date Posted: 01.26.2009 02:04
    Story ID: 29250
    Location: BALAD, IQ 

    Web Views: 275
    Downloads: 251
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