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Charlie Daniels Band visits troops in Sunni Triangle of Iraq

16 Apr 2006 | Sgt. Enrique S. Diaz

Southern rock/country superstar Charlie Daniels performed for a full house of more than 1,200 service members here April 16, 2006.

Backed by his loyal band and cheered on by service members from all branches of the armed forces, the 69-year-old put on a show that left the Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen standing and yelling for more.

"This is the first concert I've lost my voice at," said Cpl. Jesse J. Buttrick, a supply warehouseman with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28.

"Charlie Daniels has a lot of energy; he puts on a good show," said Lance Cpl. Jeremy L. Fender, a 23-year-old native of Houston, Texas and heavy equipment operator with the 1st Marine Logistics Group.

The Charlie Daniels Band put on the concert to show the troops how much they appreciated their sacrifices for America.

"We're (touring) to honor the men and women who protect our way of life. It's the least we can do," said Daniels.

"It's nice to have someone understand what we're doing and that we're here to help this country out," said Buttrick, a 22-year-old from Columbus, Ohio.

An opening act from Marine brothers who played some original music of their own, followed by the comedy routine of Dave Price, the weatherman for CBS' 'The Early Show,' got the crowd hyped for a show unique to this area of Iraq.

Daniels performed a variety of music ranging from country, rock, gospel, and bluegrass.

During the show, Daniels invited his opening act, brothers Cpl. Steven D. Cord and Cpl. Timothy M. Cord to play an oldies favorite with him, the Chuck Berry hit 'Johnny B. Goode.'

"(Playing with the Charlie Daniels Band) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially in Iraq. I never thought I'd get to do that," said Steven, a 23-year-old Saginaw, Texas native.

The opportunity to rock out with a living legend made the deployment all that much more worthwhile on a personal level.

"All of a sudden, Iraq isn't so bad," said younger brother Timothy, 21.

The concert came to a climactic ending when Daniels played his signature song, 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia,' to an enthusiastic, standing ovation.

After the show, the band autographed flyers and took pictures with several hundred service members until everyone that waited in line had a chance to meet them. 

Bad weather stalled the tour from leaving the bustling logistics base on schedule, which allowed the band to put on a second concert.

The impromptu performance, which took place in an old airplane hangar, included a few acoustic guitars, a steel trash can for a drum set, and a crowd of a couple hundred Marines, many of whom did not get to see the original show Sunday.

After their visit here, the tour was headed to Baghdad to play for another group of service members in need of a good show.
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