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Face of Defense: Disc Jockey Keeps on Rockin'

By Marine Corps Cpl. Joseph Marianelli
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan, Oct. 25, 2010 – Walking into the American Forces Network studio here, I half-expected to meet an old disc jockey trapped in his former glory days, looking like a 1970s-era car salesman decked out in a leisure suit and gold chains.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Disc jockey Bob Bullion, known today as DJ Bob in the American Forces Network studio at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, joined the Marine Corps in 1969. Bullion was determined to become a disc jockey and he performed his first radio show in April 1976. Courtesy photo

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

Yet Bob Bullion, known today as DJ Bob, is nothing like this. He has worked the airwaves here since 1990 when he retired from the Marine Corps and settled down in Japan.

Bullion’s recipe for success, he said, is to play what people want to hear.

“I try to play as much continuous music as possible and not interrupt with announcements,” he said. “One thing I’ve always been famous for is playing requests. A lot of DJs will take them, but they won’t play them.”

Bullion said he is doing what he was born to do -- entertaining people with tunes.

“I always wanted to be a DJ,” said Bullion. “When I was young I would make a microphone out of Tinkertoys.”

Bullion said he became enamored with radio in high school. His dreams had to be put on hold, though, when he joined the Marine Corps in 1969.

“If I didn’t join [the Marines], I would have been drafted,” he said.

After initial training, Bullion was posted to Iwakuni for the first time, he said, where he worked in aviation supply. Promoted to staff sergeant in five years, Bullion said he never was able to make a lateral move from aviation supply into military radio.

Meanwhile, Bullion said he volunteered to do anything he could at the then-Allied Forces Network station here. His dedication paid off and he performed his first live radio show in April 1976.

Music has evolved, and so did Bullion’s call sign. Originally, he began as Disco Bob, he said, and later became Mr. B, and then DJ Bob.

“The word consistent wraps him,” said Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Troy M. Ruby, affiliate superintendent for AFN here. “He does a good, solid radio show.”

Meanwhile, Bullion continues to broadcast tunes over the airwaves to entertain his fans.

“If it sounds good to me then I’ll play it and usually, if it’s good to me, it’s a hit,” said Bullion, who has hosted more than 1,000 live shows and announced for numerous Japanese beauty contests.


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