A 'kid' kept servicemembers entertained for hours Dec. 6 at Memorial Plaza -- Kid Rock that is.
With logistical support provided by Air Force Reserve Command, the triple-platinum recording artist brought his Twisted Brown Trucker Band, along with comedian Carlos Mencia and singer songwriter Jessie James, here as part of Tour for the Troops 2009.
"This is a real concert, just like one that you would get back home from us," Mr. Mencia said. Although this is his third time participating in Tour for the Troops, "I don't feel like it's a big deal; it's the least we can do," he said when asked why he joined the tour. "With the sacrifices made by these troops, I'd do it any time they ask."
As a comedian, Mr. Mencia sometimes has hecklers in his stateside venues. Not so with military audiences, he said. "I've never been heckled out here, because these guys are just so happy that we're here. These are the best crowds I've ever performed in front of," Mr. Mencia said.
Those crowds included Master Sgt. Frank Sills of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Post. "This is my sixth deployment to the [Area of Responsibility] and will by far be the most memorable one," Sergeant Sills said. This tour is Kid Rock's fifth supporting the troops in Southwest Asia. "That says a lot about his character and support for the military," Sergeant Sills said. "My hat's off to all of them."
Jessie James appreciated the opportunity the tour allows to give back to the troops. "If [the troops] were not here, I don't think I would be able to perform back in the U.S. because I don't believe any of us would have the freedoms we have if these [servicemembers] were not over here," she said. "It's really rewarding to come out here and thank them personally."
Ms. James understands the military lifestyle, having spent her childhood with a father in the Air Force. "I've traveled to so many different places and lived in 14 different spots," she said, "everything's influenced my music."
Enjoying the music among the more than 4,000 fans were two busloads of servicemembers from a nearby Army post on rest and relaxation passes from various units throughout the U.S. Central Command AOR.
The R&R program is geared to help servicemembers have a brief respite from the rigors of combat so they can effectively accomplish their mission when they return to their units.
Among the R&R members was Army Master Sgt. Renee Anker. Sergeant Anker is on R&R from Joint Base Balad, Iraq, and a fan of Kid Rock. "He's so multitalented with the different genres he covers," she said. "He's also from Michigan, which is close to home for me."
Army Staff Sgt. Priscilla Sanchez, NCO in charge of the R&R program, said that trips to see concerts like this are a great surprise for the servicemembers. Sergeant Anker agreed. "I didn't expect it," she said as she cheered Kid Rock on, "but I love it!"
For photos of Kid Rock performing, click on the link below.
SOURCE: Senior Airman David Dobrydney of 379AEW