CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq --
A quiet base in the western Al Anbar province was filled with sounds of electric guitars and the crash of cymbals July 10.
Marines from all over the base gathered together to hear the live music of alternative band CatchPenny during a concert aboard Camp Korean Village.
The concert was part of a grand tour around Iraq to thank the troops for their sacrifices with live music. CatchPenny is a rising alternative music group from Minneapolis who are popular for their record-setting attendance at Hard Rock Café performances around the nation.
“We wanted to do something, to give back to the troops because they sacrifice so much for our country,” said Eric E. Raum, 24, lead guitarist of CatchPenny. “It’s great to be able to boost their spirits from day to day and let them let loose and have fun.”
During the day, the band toured around CKV and visited Explosive Ordnance Disposal and platoons with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5. The service members let the band members ride in the Mine Resistant Ambush Protective truck and handle a variety of weapons systems.
The band members met and conversed with the Marines and sailors all over the base to have a “first-eye” glimpse of life in Iraq and to personally thank them for their service.
“It was a good taste of home to have the band members there to play some live music and converse with us,” said Lance Cpl. Michael A. Shipman, 21, a small-arms repair specialist with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd LAR. “Not many bands dive off stage and drink near-beers with the Marines in Iraq, and that was pretty cool of them.”
The members of CatchPenny crowned the camp tour with a cookout and concert for more than 500 Marines and sailors. During the show, the Marines were able to enjoy hard rock music, and some were afforded the opportunity to play the cow bell and sing on stage with the band.
“I enjoyed it because it was something that doesn’t happen very often during the deployment,” said Lance Cpl. Robert O. Bean, 20, a scout from Palm Bay, Fla., with Jump Platoon, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. “Singing on stage with the band and listening to live music was cool because I was able to relax for a while and have a load of fun.”
According to the Marines, the show fostered a great atmosphere for those serving in Iraq. The morale increased dramatically from every non-alcoholic beer drank to every song played.
“It was a good time listening to them and hanging out with them,” said Shipman, from Jacksonville, N.C. “All of the Marines were having a great time and I hope we get more musical acts in the future.”
2nd LAR and other units aboard CKV will continue their operations, but they will do so with the gratitude from the band members in the back of their minds.
“If I were to see them any day after this, I would shake their hands and say thank you for everything they’ve done,” said Raum. “Not many people could do the things you do and I just wanted to say thank you.”