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Man behind the scenes brings entertainment to deployed service members
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq —When most service members think of their concert experiences aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, they recall punching their fists into the desert sky, rocking out to old favorites and meeting new friends.Air Force Capt. Joshua Daniels, on the other hand, remembers long hours, black coffee and some of the most rewarding days of his military career.Daniels, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation liaison for Al Asad, is in charge of arranging entertainment for service members deployed to western Iraq. Though much of Daniels’ time is spent organizing concerts, he also finds time to acquire computers for Al Asad’s MWR facility and provide sports equipment for service members’ use.“It’s an odd job to imagine the military having,” said Daniels. “Essentially, I make sure everyone on base has something fun and constructive to do. Whether they are calling home, surfing the internet, playing sports or going to a concert, the troops need to be entertained.”While most service members count time left on their deployment by paychecks, months, weeks, days or even hours, Daniels tallies his by concert dates and computer shipments. The calendar tacked to the wall behind his desk reads more like a hotshot Hollywood agent’s client list than the calendar of a U.S. military officer deployed to Iraq.One of the challenges Daniels deals with on a regular basis is working with band managers and finding the middle ground between entertainers wanting to express themselves artistically and putting on a show that will keep a group of service members, ranging from 18 to 40 years old, entertained.Logistical problems can also come up. Although some groups require less outside support than others, there is still the occasional “heavy packer.”“We get groups in like Sevendust that don’t really require much of anything to get up and running,” said Daniels. “We let them onto the stage, and they set up and roll through with things. Then we get other groups … I won’t mention any names, but some groups are worse than others.”However, Daniels takes every challenge in stride, because his hard work and diligence pays off in an enormous way.“What really does it for me is that one moment – that one time when everything just falls into place perfectly, and I can just sit there and enjoy the finished product,” said Daniels, with a smile.The true reward of his work is watching hundreds of music fans in uniform, screaming for their favorite bands and wearing a smile from ear to ear.Daniels is approaching the end of his deployment, and now there is only one main event left for him to be part of – his trip back to the U.S.As Daniels packs up and prepares to go, he leaves behind not only the desert sands of Iraq, but also thousands of service members who are grateful to him for providing some of the best entertainment this side of the Euphrates.
www.aarp.org/community/editor/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/thumbs_up.gif" />www.aarp.org/community/editor/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/heart.gif" />www.aarp.org/community/editor/fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/wink_smile.gif" /> As an Air Force Brat, myself, although I've always loved the USAF, there's nobody like the UNITED STATES MARINES! Bravo AF Capt. Daniels for an outstanding job of providing the entertainment for our troops who so desperately need it. Tis not only a fabulous morale booster, a grand GOOD TIME, but it also gives our boys and gals a taste of HOME that happens no where else quite that way!?!!* What I want to know is, what can WE DO????? Is there anything we can send that would help relieve the unrelenting stress of being in a forward area? Board Games, UNO? Jinga? Something FUN AND SILLY that would bring a smile, suggestions please! I think I can get a big enough group going around my apt complex to help out and fill a box or two, what would they most like, say homemade cookies, as well??? Please give us a hint! I really think the reason the average person doesn't send anything, may well be that they just don't know what to do! If we could get some imput, then we could all get the word out in our communities and start sending stuff. I know enough to state, please include letters, even a short note of support means so much. Doesn't matter than you're a stranger to them, you, WE, are also all of AMERICA to those soldiers, always remember that! What do ya'll think, is this a doer? Let me know, please and thank you. Rebecca from Tucson, AZ 7/31/09 8:57PM or 2157, I think????? GOD BLESS US ALL, PRAY FOR OUR SOLDIERS WHO ARE OUT THERE DEFENDING OUR FREEDOMS!!