Friday, May 16, 2008

Hawaii Marines receive rockin' concert

Story and Photos by Cpl. Chadwick deBree


CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (May 9, 2008) – “You have been rocking the street of Zaidon, right? You have been rocking the streets of Shohabi, right? You have been rocking the streets of Karma, right? Now it’s time to rock Camp Fallujah, so get up out of your seats and have a good time,” said 1st Sgt. Brian Fogarty, First Sergeant, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, while introducing the Southern California band, The Saloonatics, on stage for a concert aboard Camp Fallujah.


The band made their way to Iraq with the desire to travel and give service members in a combat area a chance to relax and forget about their rigorous schedule for a couple of hours.


“It was very rewarding to come out here and perform for the Marines,” said lead singer Sarah Bruni. “My father and brother were in the (Marine Corps), and that drove me to make us come out here to perform for them, and the military has gone above and beyond for us to come out to the different bases to perform.”


The Saloonatics were able to perform in the South Camp section of Camp Fallujah after coordination was done by Warrant Officer Jack Johnson, Nuclear Biological Chemical officer, 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines.


“All it took was one phone call,” Johnson said. “I was tired of Camp Fallujah proper getting all the entertainment, so I made a phone call to see what I could do to get performances for the battalion. A couple days later I got a reply that we were having a band perform here.”


Before the band’s performance, the Island Warriors gave them a tour of their work space and a glimpse into the life of a Marine while deployed.


During their performance, the band played classic rock songs ranging from Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” to 3 Doors Down’s “Superman.”


“Our guitarist, Brian (Montrey), is also our band manager, so he picked all the songs,” Bruni said. “He picks songs from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and today so there is something for everyone.”


For the Marines, this was a chance to let loose for 90 minutes and dive into the world of rock.


“I thought it was awesome, they were pretty good, I enjoyed it,” said Cpl. Aaron Lee, artillery liaison radio operator, S-3, 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines. “I thought it was good for the morale of the battalion because it was something different. Like Warrant Officer Johnson said, it marked the middle of the deployment.”


But the Marines weren’t the only ones feeling the energy from the performance; the band was feeding off of it.


“The amount of energy that we received from the Marines was by far the best thing of the night,” Bruni said. “The energy we got back from them was what made this whole trip worth it. We were able to make them feel like they weren’t here for 90 minutes. They really got into the performance, singing along, jumping around, it was incredible. It’s going to break my heart to leave.”

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