America Supports You: U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan Get 'ThundHerStruck'
By Pfc. Jon Arguello, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Jul. 15, 2005 Southern Afghanistan hasn't seen rain in months, yet U.S. soldiers based at Forward Operating Base Langman, Provincial Reconstruction Team Lashkar Gah and Kandahar Airfield have all been "ThundHerStruck."
A member of ThundHerStruck interacts with a crowd of deployed servicemembers in Afghanistan. Photo by Pfc. Jon Arguello, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
ThundHerStruck, a band out of Los Angeles, entertained troops in 10 locations from the Balkans to Uzbekistan over a month's time. Three shows electrified soldier morale throughout southern Afghanistan earlier this month. The all-female AC/DC-tribute band had to compete with the voices of hundreds of soldiers as they sang along and cheered.
The first show took place in front of a crowd of paratroopers from the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne), of Task Force Rock near Qalat. The stage draped with camouflage netting was the most excitement -- outside of combat -- the soldiers have seen since they left Italy in March.
"It wasn't just a great show," said Pfc. Brock Horner, a paratrooper with Task Force Rock. "It made us all feel like we were home, like we were going to a concert and relaxing. They gave me motivation to finish my deployment. All of us in the 173rd (Airborne Brigade) appreciate them for coming to a dangerous place, without weapons, just to entertain us and make us happy. They're saints, and they're awesome."
FOB Langman's young paratroopers weren't the only appreciative fans. The shows were attended by all ranks and ages.
"I thought they were great!" said Lt. Col. John Williams, Rapid Equipping Force commander. "I've always been a big AC/DC fan, and I've been playing guitar for more than 30 years."
Williams said the band was good enough that he wanted to get closer to the stage but didn't want to make the younger soldiers feel like they were being watched. "I wanted to be up front, but I don't know if my back could have handled the stage diving," he said jokingly. "Overall, they really gave me something to look forward to. For two weeks people were talking about going to the show, and when it got here it was fantastic. It was a lot of fun."
Williams did have one complaint however.
"I wish I would have won the guitar," he said referring to the raffle of a bass and guitar by the band. The bass and guitar, which were played by the band during their tour, were donated by ESP Guitar Company, in North Hollywood, Calif., specifically for ThunderHerStruck's tour to deployed military bases.
The band was equally grateful for the servicemembers.
"The troops are there everyday fighting for us," said ThundHerStruck rhythm guitarist Carin Toti. "We feel we can deal with it for a few weeks, when soldiers are there for so many months, years. We feel it is an honor to be able to come and play for them, bring them a little bit of home and see those smile on their faces. It's a little frightening, but well worth it."
Although the band had to deal with heat and uncomfortable military aircraft to get around, they have played at every venue they had the opportunity to play at. One band member even played after needing intravenous rehydration, and they still said they wished they could have played more shows.
"We wanted to do more shows," Toti said. "I was sad, but knew we had done the most we could, met the most people we could, and made a lot of friends. We ate lunch and dinner with several soldiers on this tour, and getting to know so many of them was a highlight for us. It was all-around amazing."
(Army Pfc. Jon Arguello is assigned to Task Force Bayonet Public Affairs.)