CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- It was a classic example of mutual benefit. Service members and civilian personnel received a refreshing dose of stateside entertainment while a platinum-record band had a small taste of Iraq.
Shinedown, a high-charged rock group from Jacksonville, Fla., finished their tour of the country with a United Service Organizations-sponsored performance here Nov. 11.
“The USO’s been great, and it’s great to see you guys in action,” said Guy Sykes, tour manager for Shinedown. “We plan to do this again in the future.”
Not many would try to stop them. Shinedown rocked the stage for about two hours and signed autographs for hundreds of Marines after the show.
They also spent time with service members before the show. Lt. Col. Sean C. Killeen, commanding officer of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, said the band “hung out” with his Marines and learned about their jobs, which is to conduct and support casualty evacuations.
During the visit, a casualty siren went off and squadron personnel rushed to the helicopters. Killeen said the members of Shinedown expressed both appreciation and admiration of Marines at HMM-364, especially after seeing the squadron in action. “They were surprised to see how quickly we (had the helicopters off the ground).”
“It’s been amazing seeing you guys in action … (and it’s important for us) to give you guys a little release, a break from everyday life,” said Jasin Todd, guitarist for Shinedown.
His advice to service members attending their performance: “Just leave it all outside the stage.”
The band first performed for a military audience at Fort Bliss, Texas, in August. Todd said the crowd’s response and the professionalism of the base commander encouraged them to continue performing for troops.
“We're not a political band, … (but) one thing we can all agree on, is that we are Free (sic) to bring the world music and this freedom is upheld by these brave men and women,” wrote Todd, on Shinedown’s website.
The band members also visited Taqaddum Surgical. The facility is responsible for stabilizing and treating American and Iraqi casualties.
“I respect everyone that comes out here,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Donald W. Clark, training and operations chief for TQ Surgical Detachment, “but the fact that these guys took the time out of their busy schedule to come see wounded patients in the ward, it’s great.”
The four-member band formed in 2002 and released their first album, Leave a Whisper, the following year. The debut album sold more than 1 million records, powered by hit singles “45” and “Burning Bright.” The band released their sophomore album, Us and Them, in October 2005.