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'Falcon' lands in Afghanistan
Brig. Gen. James M. "Mike" Holmes plays guitar as Senior Master Sgt. James Weber looks on during the band's show June 22 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The U.S. Air Forces Central Band "Falcon" band travels throughout the area of responsibility to promote troop morale and to reach out to host nation communities. General Holmes is the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. Sergeant Weber is the band's vocalist and guitarist. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Demetrius Lester)
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'Falcon' lands in Afghanistan

Posted 6/26/2008   Updated 6/26/2008 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. James Law
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/26/2008 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN)  -- The U.S. Air Forces Central band "Falcon" showcased its musical talents for audiences June 20 to 22 at Bagram Air Base.

The band entertained attendees of the 455th Expeditionary Operations Group change-of-command ceremony with a variety of pop music before and after the ceremony.

During the formal procedure, the band played "Ruffles and Flourishes," the "General's March," the national anthem and the Air Force song. Later in the afternoon, the band gathered their acoustical gear and set out to reach the Airmen assigned to the aircraft maintenance squadrons remotely located on the opposite side of the base.

"Sometimes there are folks who are unable to get to the entertainment that's offered on the bases ... because of their schedules," said Senior Master Sgt. James Weber, the band's superintendent. "What we try to do is to go out with our acoustic instruments and play for those small work centers."

In addition to the small performance, the band hosted a two-hour concert open to the base's population. The music varied from country and rock to rhythm and blues. In the mix of variety, Brig. Gen. James M. "Mike" Holmes, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, was invited to make a guest performance picking the tunes to Lynyrd Skynard's 'Sweet Home Alabama.'

"The general is a great musician," Sergeant Weber said. "If he ever decides to give up commanding, we have a spot for him."

As the show progressed, random members of the audience were called on stage to join the band by shaking maracas, a tambourine and dancing and singing chorus lines.

"When we do our larger shows, we try to turn it around and make the audience the show," Sergeant Weber said. "When we leave our shows, what we want people to remember is their part of the show."

When the band finished what they thought was the last song, the crowd vocalized their appreciation chanting "one more song."

"They are the reason why we are here," Sergeant Weber said. "We are trying to uplift people and let them know they are not forgotten, that they are loved and we try to bring a little bit of home to them."

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