Nations ‘Band’ Together in Afghanistan
By Army Sgt. Zachary Otto
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Jul. 18, 2008 The U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division and Afghan National Army bands met this week for a four-day training event here.
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Hager, commander of the 101st Airborne Division band, conducts the Afghan National Army band and 101st band during a training event at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan recently. The two units worked together to learn music and foster relationships. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Zach Otto, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The two units worked together to learn music and foster relationships. The 101st band has been to Kabul, where the Afghan group is located, several times. However, this was the first time the Afghan musicians have come to Bagram.
About 22 Afghan soldiers from a “kandak,” or battalion-sized element, stayed with the 101st soldiers.
“The language barrier was the hardest part,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Hager, commander of the 101st band. “We got through it though; music is a universal language.”
Though the language of music may be universal, an interpreter was present for the non-musical communication.
The two bands worked on the Afghan, U.S., French and German anthems as well as “Bravura,” a marching tune. They swapped musical tips and helped each other on techniques.
“It was nice to see guys who want to learn,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Jeremy Morrison, trumpet section leader for the 101st band in Bagram. “They really want to learn. They ask questions and are eager to better themselves.”
The Afghan band is interested in returning for another training event.
“We want to train more,” said Mohammed Saliman, a trumpet player in the Afghan army band. “This is the first time we’ve come for training, and it was very wonderful.”
(Army Sgt. Zachary Otto is assigned to 382nd Public Affairs Detachment.)