The Volunteers perform for deploying troops

By Jonathan Agee
The United States Army Field Band

News story photo
Photo credit: Jonathan Agee
The Volunteers perform a variety of music March 20 at the Dallas-Fort Worth personnel assistance point for troops deploying to the Middle East.
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- The mood was solemn at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport as nearly 250 service members were returning to duty in the Middle East after two weeks of leave. The USO was on hand providing food, movies, books, and a little something extra – a live music concert.

The Volunteers of The United States Army Field Band performed a variety of country, rock and pop songs as troops were waiting for their departure March 20.

For many of the troops, the music was a welcome change that helped set a positive mood and created a pleasant atmosphere.

“I think this is amazing for the Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Trisha McAfee, commander of the Dallas-Fort Worth Personnel Assistance Point. “Being able to sit here and listen and be entertained, especially being fellow military members, that it really means a lot to them for their send off; because we know we are sending them back into harm’s way. And when they see the support of the community and their peers, it really sticks with them … It’s something special. We don’t get this very often we really appreciate it.”

Leaving family and returning to duty is not easy said Spc. Kenrick Miranda, human resource specialist, but having a live performance from The Volunteers lifted his spirits.

The Volunteers have toured the Middle East twice and know how difficult it can be to leave family and friends when deploying. “There’s a lot of anxiety leading up to it,” said Staff Sgt. Randy Wight, keyboardist and vocalist. “You’re heading downrange into hostile territory and it focuses your perspective on the things we sometimes take for granted.”

Wight said that the performance was more than just the songs they selected, it was letting the troops know that The Volunteers can relate. It was not too long ago that they were in the same spot.

“Anytime you can have outside support, especially when Soldiers have been home with their families for two weeks and they have to leave and go back to the war zone, it is always wonderful to have support like that, and music is one of the best things,” said Sgt. Maj. Tracy Dykstra, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command communications sergeant major.

The Volunteers finished the performance by going through airport security and performing for the troops in the terminal. It was a small acoustic performance, but more than anything else it was Soldiers supporting Soldiers who are heading back into combat.

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