Story and Photo by
Cpl. Daniel Eddy
196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 25th Infantry Division
BAGHDAD — Air guitar, head banging and loud rock music reverberated through the crowd at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center at Camp Liberty, Iraq, Dec. 25, as the 25th Infantry Division Band entertained U.S. Division-Center Soldiers.
The six-member band, “Show of Force,” wearing Santa Claus hats, kept the Soldiers smiling and cheering as they high-fived the crowd, handed out candy, sang and played.
“I think the interaction the band had with the crowd (was the best part),” said Lt. Col. Paul Romagnoli, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th ID. “Every person was there to be part (of the entertainment).”
Romagnoli said the band did an outstanding job and always draws a crowd.
“The band has a very unique mission,” he said. “Not only do they play patriotic music, but they really do help with morale. Playing music that someone is familiar with … it really gives (Soldiers) a sense of being home, that little connection that they wouldn’t normally get in Iraq. It also helps to break up the day and it gives them something to look forward to.”
The music and high energy was maintained as band members kept an upbeat tempo throughout the concert.
“(Performing at a high energy level) is all part of the show,” said Sgt. Jared Bree, band operations noncommissioned officer and keyboardist with the division’s rock band. “You need to put yourself into the music, but not over the top so that you are drawing attention away from the singer, but still getting into it and increasing the level of enjoyment for the crowd.”
Bree said it’s nice to have people clap along with the band and smile, which makes him feel good about his job. Even though he cannot be home for Christmas, performing for the troops helps replace the time away from loved ones.
“It helps to make up for (not being home for Christmas),” he said. “Coming here and doing my job … helps me have a great Christmas. I look forward to a year over here, doing a good job.”