Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Sgt. Annika Chambers, Headquarters Company, 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Brings the Blues to Camp Prosperity

    Sgt. Annika Chambers, Headquarters Company, 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Brings the Blues to Camp Prosperity

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Melissa Bright | Sgt. Annika Chambers, of Houston, Texas, with the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team,...... read more read more

    Baghdad - The heat of the night competes for attention with the sweet mellow sounds coming out of Sgt. Annika Chambers. It's not clear which one makes the biggest impression on the crowd surrounding her as they relax on a raised concrete slab behind the As Salaam Palace on Camp Prosperity, Baghdad.

    The pad is the regular gathering point throughout the week for outdoor movies, Salsa dancers and a mix of karaoke participants and watchers.

    It has been given the moniker "Red Fish Island" by the small contingent of men and women with the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Texas Army National Guard, as a reminder of a beloved destination near the coastal town of Galveston, Texas, a few months after their arrival in Baghdad December 2009.

    Chambers holds court on the "Island" every Wednesday and Saturday; and, hot or not, singers and on-lookers alike all stand enthralled by the powerful sounds emanating from the throat of the woman serving in Iraq as the Joint Area Support Group-Central's Postal non-commissioned officer in charge.

    Lead singer in a band back at home in Houston, Chambers is no stranger to expressing herself under a spot-light.

    "We are called Funky Chakra and I think of us as bluesy, funky and popish with a rock twist."

    "My first deployment was to Kosovo that's where I learned I had a love for music. It was when I got back that I learned I could write music."

    "I've spent a lot of my time over the years writing short stories and poetry. The transition into music was a bit challenging, but once I learned a comfortable style for me it was much easier."

    And here, half-way around the world for the second time, she has taken it upon herself to ensure that the service-men and women around her have the same opportunities on a regular basis.

    In addition to her postal duties, Chambers is the morale, welfare and recreation NCOIC and coordinates several Soldier driven events each week.

    Some focus on music with singing and dancing; others focus on social interaction around a game-board or pool-table, but all have the same goal of bringing some relaxation and fun to the deployment.

    "Hey, I'm here to bring you what you want. All you have to do is let me know," said Chambers during a sensing session held for the Soldiers of the 72nd IBCT in May.

    Each week the MWR committee meets and discusses potential events and upcoming opportunities, striving to meet the spoken and unspoken need to relieve some tension by belting out a little country ditty or helping someone escape from everyday tasks by getting into the rhythm of a steel guitar.

    With her ready smile, smooth voice and open attitude, it was almost a given that Chambers would be involved with the MWR committee. Her high level of energy and earnest commitment to be of service to those around her have truly aided in the success of that mission.

    At this point, the service-members with the 72nd IBCT are six-months into their deployment and it's hard to imagine walking back to the housing area on a Wednesday night without hearing that emotion filled voice rise above the trees.

    Or, for that matter, shouted encouragement mixed with laughter as other karaoke enthusiasts step up to the mike and sing their favorite tunes.

    As for what Chambers will do when she gets back to the states this time?

    "My goals are to pursue my music full-time once I re-deploy. I'm still unsure whether I'll be re-enlisting but, whatever decision I make, I have a lot of supporters and I will continue to make music as everyone tells me I should. "



    Date Taken: 06.11.2010
    Date Posted: 06.11.2010 09:10
    Story ID: 51225
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ

    Web Views: 522
    Downloads: 198