|About 600 people, including a contingent from the 1st
Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, a Minnesota Army National
Guard unit, witnessed the lively music, colorful presentations and
professionalism of the June 25 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Fort McCoy,
said Jobi Spolum Fort McCoy Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
(MWR) Marketing director.
The theme of the show “Carnival – A Traveling Thank You,” mirrors the
environment that Soldiers serve in around the world.
Among the crowd favorites were “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and the
patriotic music, Spolum said.
J.C. Abney, the Installation Management Command deputy chief of staff
for Family and MWR programs, said in prepared remarks for the program
that the Soldier Show expressed the Army’s appreciation to the citizens
of host nations and to the Soldiers, their Families, Department of
Defense civilians and retirees who support Soldiers.
“As the war continues, our military remains focused on protecting
America, guaranteeing its citizens’ safety and upholding America’s
ideals of freedom across the world,” Abney said. “Our ideals and
missions have required great sacrifice as freedom comes at a cost to our
Soldiers, their Families, fellow countrymen and those brave citizens of
other countries who believe in the American message.”
The production portrays never-ending gratitude for the support given by
all nations that share the American dream for freedom and with whom they
serve around the world, he said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Uhlig, mobilization command sergeant major,
said the support also was evident when he talked to Command Sgt. Maj.
Joseph Eustice, the battalion Command Sergeant Major of the 1st
Battalion, 125th Field Artillery of the 1st, 34th. The 1st, 125th is
conducting mobilization training at Fort McCoy and will run a base camp
and provide MWR services during its deployment, he said.
“They agreed to provide the troops to set up and take down the
equipment,” Uhlig said. “This was an excellent opportunity for them to
see what it takes to provide quality entertainment. Soldier support is
key to having a successful event like the Soldier Show.”
Eustice said the program gave his unit’s MWR Cell the opportunity to
pick a crew to support the Soldier show, while understanding that not
everyone could go because of the mission.
“The Soldiers were impressed and thought it was a great event,” Eustice
Pam Budda, Recreation Branch chief and the Fort McCoy Soldier Show point
of contact, said the terrific assistance from the 1st, 125th in setting
up and taking down the equipment was appreciated and recognized by the
Fort McCoy crew as the best they have seen.
“I don’t know what we would have done without them,” Budda said.
Pam Redmann, Fort McCoy Health Benefits adviser, said it was the third
year she has gone to the Soldier Show and the first time she had taken
her children along.
“They’re already asking if they can go next year,” Redmann said. “Funny
thing, they thought the Soldiers were lip synching, and they were very
surprised to learn that the Soldiers were actually singing the songs
they hear on the radio. We sat in the middle of a group of Soldiers from
the 1st, 34th who are going through mobilization, so the patriotic songs
were even more meaningful to me.”