Army band honors soldiers

By Jeremy Twitchell and Jared Page
Deseret Morning News

News story photo
Photo credit: Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
The trumpet section of the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus performs in Orem Wednesday.
OREM — The U.S. Army Field Band kicked off a tour of the western United States on Wednesday with a patriotic message and a thank-you tribute to four local soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those recognized were Sgt. Jacob Weber of Eagle Mountain, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 1457th Engineering Battalion; Sgt. Adam Barley of Orem, who served in OIF with the 116th Engineer Company; Sgt. Jeffery Zaine of Orem, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom with the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment; and Capt. Damon Hulsey of Pleasant Grove, who served in OEF with the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
"It's amazing," Barley said of the event. "I think it's wonderful that they put this together, and it's great for the community to be able to participate in military events. It's spectacular."
The soldiers said they were impressed to have the Army Field Band, which has performed on nearly every stage imaginable, to be at the event.
"It's nice to have the field band here, and show their thanks as well," Zaine said.
The troops said a big part of the honor on Wednesday was being in the company of so many of their fellow veterans attending the performance.
"Always impressed by seeing my predecessors, all the veterans of eras past," Hulsey said. "I still hold feelings about them."
And while the troops all expressed tremendous gratitude for the honor, they couldn't help but wonder why they were chosen over others.
"Why am I here to honor and represent the other veterans who have gone?" Weber wondered. "There's four of us here, and how many people have served in our own units who have gone, who deserved to be here, and could be here?"
The public recognition of the four Utahns is part of Operation Tribute to Freedom, the Army's program designed to honor soldiers and give them opportunities to thank the American people for their support.
The Field Band's visit to Orem was the first of 30 stops on its 34-day tour through Utah, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
The performing group has served as a musical ambassador for the Army since 1946, performing for more than 100 million audience members.
Staff Sgt. Teresa Harris of Salt Lake City is an alto in the Soldiers' Chorus and the lone Utahn performing with the 63-piece symphonic band and 25-voice choir.
The Concert Band and Soldiers' Chorus, along with the Jazz Ambassadors and the Volunteers, a five-piece touring show band, each travel more than 100 days a year. They have performed in venues ranging from high school auditoriums to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
"You name it, we've played there," said Lt. Col. Beth T.M. Steele, who conducted the Field Band on Wednesday night.
The mission of the field band is to "foster the support of the American people, support for the Army and the armed forces in general," Steele said. "And we honor our veterans."
Costs for the groups' transportation, lodging and meals are covered by the Army, while sponsors pick up the tab for venue fees and concert promotion.

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