News: ‘Divas’ and MCAS Miramar team up for show
Story by Lance Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot
MARINE CORPS BASE MIRAMAR, Calif. - About ten Marines grinning from ear to ear enjoyed a private concert while Katy Perry rehearsed on stage.
Volunteering to assist the 2010 VH1 Divas Salute the Troops concert security had its benefits: volunteers got a free private show from the “Divas” as they rehearsed.
Katy Perry, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj, Sugarland, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Heart and Kathy Griffin spent the evening entertaining the troops at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Dec. 3.
Over the course of just a few weeks, a production team from VH1 transformed a hangar at the air station into a towering soundstage, complete with a rotating platform with interchangeable set pieces.
Days before the concert taping, VH1 and Marine Corps Community Services recruited volunteers to help set up the concert site and provide security.
Cpl. Tyler Formby, a rifle coach at the Carlos Hathcock Range here, stood among the starstruck and cheering volunteers watching Katy Perry perfect her routine.
“I’ve been here since yesterday,” said Formby. “We set up all the fences and all the stands. I got to hang out backstage last night,” he added with a sideways grin.
VH1 and MCCS delegated VIP seating to the Marines and sailors of Wounded Warrior Battalion West, as well as their friends and families.
Cpl. Michael Pride was one of the first wounded warriors to arrive at the hangar.
“Being a Wounded Warrior…I always like when anyone is supportive in any way they can, like showing their talents,” the Kansas City, Mo., native said.
After the start of the show, the wounded warriors enjoyed not only the best view of the concert, but also had a special visit from Snooki of “The Jersey Shore.” The pint-sized reality star fought her way through throngs of eager fans to sign autographs, take pictures and chat with the wounded warriors.
Uniformed military members from every branch of service enjoyed stage-side viewing of the concert. About 27,000 people attended the show.
“I’ve been to concerts before, but never anything like this,” said Air Force Airman Joel Buers, a cyber security specialist with the 95th Communication Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The lowest ranking member of his squadron, Buers explained that his command encouraged him to enjoy the unique opportunity for service members in the California area.
The show ended with fireworks and salutes from the “Divas.” The hangar will return to normal as quickly as VH1 transformed it, but the memory of bright lights and crooning pop stars will remain.