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July 08, 2011

Leisure

Soldier Show honors support of Soldiers around the world

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.
PHOTO: Cast members of the U.S. Army Soldier Show perform the opening number  "Lights, Action, Soldier Show." Photo by Allan Harding
Cast members of the U.S. Army Soldier Show perform the opening number  "Lights, Action, Soldier Show" to support the theme for this year’s production “Carnival - A Traveling Thank You.”
PHOTO: Sgt. Emily McAleesejergins of the U.S. Army Soldier Show cast, performs "Circus." Photo by Allan Harding
Sgt. Emily McAleesejergins of the U.S. Army Soldier Show cast, performs "Circus."
PHOTO: Sgt. Britnea Jones performs "Pretty Girl Rock."  Photo by Allan Harding
Sgt. Britnea Jones performs "Pretty Girl Rock."

Photos by Allan Harding
 

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 said.

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.”

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