CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan -- The country music band The Frontmen played for the approximately 200 service members here, May 23, 2013.
“It’s very important for our troops to be able to decompress,” said Jean Chambers, the Camp Leatherneck Morale, Welfare and Recreation director. “We’re here 110 percent for the troops, and we come up with as many programs as we can to provide for the services members so they can have a life outside of the fight.”
For the past year, The Frontmen, a group comprised of lead singers from known country bands, have performed for service members stationed overseas and deployed.
Having toured and performed individually, the group said this tour holds greater meaning for them.
“This is our second time touring together and performing for the troops,” said Larry Stewart, lead singer of Restless Heart. “We’ve never been here (Afghanistan), so to be able to come play is beyond special, and is such an honor for us.”
Stewart, a native of Franklin, Tenn., explained that being able to see the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces has changed his perspective of the military.
“When I first started doing these tours, I was thinking, ‘They’re tired, they’ve been working hard, and they don’t want to come out and sit there and hear a bunch of guys sing,’ and it amazes me how much appreciation is shown,” said Stewart.
Tim Rushlow, the former lead singer of Little Texas, said he likes touring for the opportunity to spend time with deployed service members.
“Yeah, we get to sing and play, but we get to hang out with the troops,” said Rushlow, from Nashville, Tenn. “Being able to talk with them and eat with them, that’s all that matters.”
“The applause of the armed forces means more to me than any award or platinum record sitting on my shelf collecting dust,” he continued. “This is real, it’s live, and it’s awesome - that’s what I absolutely love about it.”
The band closed their show with Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” and were given a standing ovation before signing autographs and taking photos with service members.
“We needed this performance just as much as these guys did,” said Erick Baker, a singer/songwriter. “We’re here for the troops, and to say thank you and the crowd today really picked us up. We truly are beyond thankful for what everyone serving over here does.”
After signing autographs and taking group photos, the band interacted with a few of the service members by joining them in a card game.
“Having the opportunity to not only meet the band, but to talk with them was incredible,” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Burges, 26, from Conway, N.C., and a rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7. “They asked us about our wives and kids, and what we do outside the Marine Corps. You could feel that they were being genuine and actually cared, and to me that speaks a lot louder than a simple concert.”