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Face of Defense: Air Force Band Member Enjoys Audience Interaction

By Army Spc. Eric J. Cullen
Special to American Forces Press Service

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, April 17, 2009 – For Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Castle, the opportunity to play for Haitian children at the U.S. Embassy here April 15 was a privilege.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Castle plays for Haitian music students at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 15, 2009. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission to Latin America and the Caribbean region in support of Continuing Promise 2009. U.S. Navy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The U.S. Air Force Band of the West, based at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, is aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort as part Continuing Promise 2009, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored humanitarian mission.

Castle said he heard about a career in music in the military while attending graduate school at Rice University in Houston.

“I wanted a career serving as a performer,” he said. “I love to boost morale and play in the ceremonies for our troops.”

The performance went well at the embassy, Castle said, and the audience of mostly youth received the band with open arms.

“It was great,” he said. “The kids were wonderfully behaved, very attentive and very appreciative. It feels good to be partners and friends with them.”

Continuing Promise 2009 combines U.S. military and interagency personnel, civil service mariners, nongovernmental organizations, academia and partner nations to provide medical, dental, veterinary and engineering services afloat and ashore alongside host-nation personnel. Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission that will visit seven countries in the region.

“Any time you can interact with the audience and everyone is engaged in the music, it is very exciting,” Castle said.

(Army Spc. Eric J. Cullen is deployed to Operation Continuing Promise 2009.)

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Related Sites:
U.S. Southern Command
U.S. Air Force Band of the West

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