News: AFCENT Band sings for airmen
Story by Senior Airman Amber Kelly-Herard
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- No one said building a base would be easy.
Less than two months ago, most the facilities at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia were covered with more than an inch of dust.
By Oct. 6, the airmen of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing were ready for their first performance, led by the Air Forces Central Command Band.
"This performance is for all of you to re-energize, recharge, relax and refocus after working hard daily," said Capt. Darryl Hebert, 332nd Expeditionary Force Support Squadron deputy commander, who is deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and is a native of Loreauville, La.
What made the performance all the more special was the newly enhanced stage created by the 332nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. The 332nd ECES found excess polyvinyl chloride pipe, otherwise known as PVC pipe, which was slated to be disposed of and made a background structure for the stage.
"The audience is the reason we are here, especially at this base," said Staff Sgt. Justin Allen, AFCENT Band guitarist and lead vocalist. "We want to support those who are making things happen here and by being the first performing act, we hope to help this base as it gets started."
The band performed 13 songs, including an encore, during their hour-and-a-half performance.
"The deployed environment is enriching for us," said Allen, who is deployed from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. "People are out here for six months to a year and you never know how long it's been since they have had a piece of home to take their mind off of the everyday work that they do."
"They are the people working, turning the wrenches, so we are here to give them the night off," continued the Indianapolis native.
In addition to this performance, the band has been traveling throughout U.S. Central Command providing positive support to service members.
"There is no regular day for us, there's a lot of work that goes into putting our group together and what the audience sees is just the tip of the iceberg," said Allen about the band. "We all have additional duties and we are our own 'roadies' because we set-up and tear down our equipment, but you never know who's listening and who you are going to touch."
Other members of the band include: Tech. Sgt. Dennis Pack, NCO in charge and guitar; Staff Sgt. Amber Grimes, lead vocals; Staff Sgt. Shane Spanier, keyboards; Staff Sgt. Brandon Richard, drums; Staff Sgt. Joshua Deal, audio; Airman 1st Class Philip Runge Jr., bass.