By Spc. Derrol Fulghum II
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Task Force 1st Armored Division Soldiers at Baghdad International Airport were entertained by the USA Express band Saturday night.
The USA Express is a pop music band composed of seven Soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort McPherson, Ga., and Fort Meade, Md. Hundreds of Soldiers auditioned for the opportunity to travel around the world entertaining their comrades-in-arms, but these seven Soldiers were selected.
The band opened with a short, jazzy welcome, then launched into a rousing rendition of Lynard Skynard's "Sweet Home Alabama." The more than 150 Soldiers present readily clapped their hands and sung along. The USA Express played for two hours.
Three female vocalists smoothly blended melody with harmony, while the accompanying bass provided a solid rhythm, complimenting the drummer. The lead guitarists" fingers were a blur across his fingerboard. In addition to his piano skill, the man behind the dual keyboards also displayed the ability to provide a myriad of sound effects.
"They're all very talented," said 1st Lt. Dan Brosey, a personnel officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Armored Division. "They played a wide spectrum of songs, and people would hear a song they remember and were able to sing along. There was something for everybody -- everybody can enjoy it."
The USA Express has toured in Korea, Alaska, Cuba, and all over the Middle East, as well as in the United States. They began touring in February and will finish in mid-July. "It's been great," said Staff Sgt. Jennifer McMahon, a Patriot Missile crew member from Fort Bliss, Texas.
"I've met people from all over the place. Even from countries I didn't know existed. I've been able to make friends from everywhere."
The night ended with the vocalists coming down from the stage and shaking the hands of Soldiers in attendance and thanking them for what they're doing. Most of the songs played during the two-hour show were recent chart-topping hits, but the band did pay tribute to America's Soldiers with "God Bless the USA".