JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Charlie Wilson of the Charlie Wilson Band performed for more than 300 service members and civilians at the Sustainer Theater Feb. 24 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
Wilson, a Tulsa, Okla., native, who now lives in Los Angeles, said this was his second tour in Iraq, which ran Feb. 17-25 with a final stop in Kuwait.
Wilson recently overcame prostate cancer and put out a new album, and then came to JBB and performed his hit single "There Goes My Baby." He also performed some of his classic Gap Band songs, including "You Dropped a Bomb on Me."
"It's great to see their smiles, even if it is for only a few moments ... It's good knowing they're having a good time," he said.
Wilson said he knows Soldiers have tough jobs.
"I know it's kind of crazy out there and anything can happen," he said.
Jenna Lankford, an assistant for Wilson and a Los Angeles native, said the group was more prepared than it was last year and knew what to expect.
"We come here for the troops," said Lankford. "It's not about getting paid; it's about the people risking their lives for us and us being able to give one good night of entertainment."
Spc. Tyler E. Klinger, a food service specialist with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Kent City, Mich., native, said he was relatively unfamiliar with Charlie Wilson but he wanted to see a good concert.
"I think these shows are great for morale," said Klinger.
Spc. Vashion R. Lee, also a food service specialist with the 13th ESC and Tallahassee, Fla., native, said he had heard of the Gap Band and knew Wilson's other music.
"I heard his music when I was growing up all the time," said Lee. "I know he has been working with R. Kelly as well."
Wilson said he has made some memories in Iraq.
"I love coming here," he said. "I come here to make [service members] have some fun and that's the bottom line. I've been asked to come back next year and I'm delighted to."
Wilson said he appreciates service members' work and will continue to bring his love to them.
"From the bottom of my heart, anything I can do for you just ask and I'm on my way," he said. "I don't care what it is or what's going on; if you can get me here, I'm there."