Most rainy nights people seek shelter and fun indoors. However, on this evening, a crowd gathered in the rain to dance and sing along with one of country music’s most recognizable voices.
Trace Adkins, a four-time grammy-nominated country music star, visited Okinawa and performed free concerts at Camp Hansen and Kadena Air Base on Dec. 1 and 2 for service members, families and the community.
Adkins spent part of his first day meeting Marines and sailors at Camp Hansen before his much-anticipated performance later that evening.
“I’m from the middle of nowhere, and I grew up listening to his music,” said Lance Cpl. Rachael D. Wilson, an enthused member of the audience and field radio operator with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “It was awesome being able to meet him in person.”
The USO hosted Adkins’ seventh USO tour in 11 years, which is a testament to the desire that both the artist and the organization have for supporting the troops.
“There is nothing more important to me than family,” said Adkins. “They are what matters most in my life. That’s why I always look forward to doing these USO tours. In many ways, this organization has become family to me.
“Of course, we can never forget who we’re doing this for, the brave individuals in uniform and those who support them around the world,” Adkins explained.
Throughout these tours, Adkins has entertained more than 29,000 service members.
“I came to have a good time, and I definitely did,” said Cpl. Michael A. Peters, an audience member and mortarman with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. “This was something great for all of us to look forward to, even if you don’t like country music.”
The multiplatinum-selling artist told the crowd of fans at Camp Hansen’s concert how he had contemplated enlisting in the Marine Corps as a young adult.
As Adkins sang his Marine Corps-inspired song, “Semper Fi,” the crowd’s energy grew and chants of “Ooh-rah” echoed throughout the camp.
“It was great to see this part of American culture,” said Risa Tamaki, a concertgoer. “I was excited to see and listen to him play country music.”
After Adkins finished his final song, the audience shouted for one more song. Adkins responded moments later, capping off a rainy, but fun-filled concert.
“It was great to have a taste of home so close to the holidays,” said Wilson. “This is the first country music concert I’ve been to in almost two years.”