Fort McCoy News July 26, 2013

2013 Soldier Show: Ready & Resilient

BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

Soldiers took the stage for a lively 75-minute performance at Fort McCoy. The July 11 show took the audience on a journey of military life, including the process of mobilization and deployment.

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The cast of the 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show unite for the finale of the July 11 performance at Fort McCoy's Rumpel Fitness Center. A crowd of more than 600 people gathered to enjoy the show.
Photo by Lou Ann M. Mittelstaedt

The show, which is entitled "Ready and Resilient," marked the 21st year the cast has performed at Fort McCoy, said Pam Budda, Fort McCoy Soldier Show point of contact. About 610 people attended the event.

"We enjoy having the Soldier Show at Fort McCoy because it is an awesome Family show, and each year it's something special," Budda said. "The Soldiers do a terrific job, and the event lets the public see military life."

Sgt. 1st Class Hank Slaughter, the Soldier Show noncommissioned officer in charge, introduced the Army Soldier Show and the history behind it.

"Soldiers have been entertaining Soldiers since the days that they sat around campfires singing songs to relieve the stress of the day," Slaughter said. "There were more formal Soldier Shows put on during World Wars I and II by Sgt. Irving Berlin."

The 2013 performance marks the 30th anniversary of the modern U.S. Army Soldier Show, he said.

The show also featured tributes to Gold Star Families (Family members who are survivors of a servicemenber killed in combat) and Blue Star Families (Family members of a servicemember serving or who served in combat) and to a number of important anniversaries, including the 75th anniversary of the song "God Bless America," the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg and the Emancipation Proclamation, the 60th anniversary of the Korean armistice and the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War.

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Spc. Kelly Gregg and Sgt. Alexander Rebling showcased their talents in an acoustic version of the Aerosmith mega hit "Dream On."
Photo by Lou Ann M. Mittelstaedt

The songs "Bring Him Home" and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from Les Misérables and "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars honored Gold and Blue Star Families.

Songs, choreography and skits also took the audience through the deployment cycle, beginning with mobilization through the coping mechanisms, including resilience, of deployments.

During the past 10 years, 3.5 million Soldiers have served in combat.

In one sequence, a Soldier keeps his Family in his thoughts by remembering watching classical Disney movies with his children.

The reminiscing serves as the setting for musical and choreographic tributes with performers in customized costumes honoring such movies as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Hercules," "The Little Mermaid," and "Mary Poppins."

Cast members also helped highlight the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) program policy with several musical numbers precipitated by a simulated sexual harassment scenario between a male and female Soldier.

Aretha Franklin's "Think" and "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." and the Temptations' "Treat her Like a Lady" helped bring home the SHARP program's theme.

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Youngsters gathered at the foot of the stage got a commanding view of the performance, and were bathed in the glow of the stage lights as they were captivated by the sights and sounds of the 2013 Army Soldier Show performance at Fort McCoy July 11.
Photo by Lou Ann M. Mittelstaedt

Soldiers also highlighted the military's devotion to the country and freedom, ending their performance by singing the Army Song.

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott and Garrison Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. Bill Bissonette presented the cast with a plaque for their performance at Fort McCoy and support for the Army. The cast also presented Fort

McCoy with a plaque thanking the installation for its support.

"The Soldiers put on a high-energy, high-operations show," Nott said. The performance is part of a seven month tour, where Soldiers routinely put in 12- to-16-hour days.

Audience members proved to be very appreciative as they gave the cast a standing ovation at the end of the show. Nott also elicited a loud ovation during the presentations, when he asked audience members, especially the first-time attendees, if they enjoyed the show.

Sponsors for the event included ALM Charities, Logistics Health Incorporated, Pizza Hut Tomah, Burnstads, and COW 97. No federal endorsement is implied.

(See related photos.)