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AMC Band's "Raw Materiel" FOB Hops in Iraq and Kuwait
By Spc. Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown
Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown
Soldiers from "Raw Materiel" rehearse prior to their tour throughout Iraq and Kuwait.
The nine-member contingent of the 40-member-strong band from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is on its fourth tour in Iraq entertaining civilians and troops.
"We're here to entertain troops, to bring joy, and show you can serve your country in all aspects," said Sgt. Quanda Brown, a vocalist from Des Moines, Iowa who is an assistant course director for the Army cooking school with the 266 Quartermaster Company, Fort Lee.
Brown is the only member of the group in the tour who is not originally part of the unit. She was offered a singing spot in the band after she came in third place overall in the 2006 Military Idol competition.
The group is on a 60-day mission in Iraq and Kuwait, playing at many different Forward Operating Bases, for a total of about 36 shows. In the states, the band performs an average of 200 missions per year supporting the Army Materiel Command worldwide.
The AMC Band was activated in January 1944 at Fort Monmouth, N.J., and now resides at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where it retains its designation of "AMC's Own."
"It's morale-boosting. It gives people a break over here and relieves stress," said Sgt. Manuel D. Jimenez, a guitarist in the band who is from San Diego, Calif. "Playing and practicing is great, but actually being on stage is the best part."
The band plays all genres of music and popular covers, ranging from Tina Turner to Fall Out Boy. Other music performed includes charts by Christina Aguilera, Toby Keith, Kelly Clarkson, and Rage Against the Machine.
This month the group will break up into two smaller combos to entertain at many different FOBs, as well as performing together on Anaconda. Check the 13thSC(E) homepage for a calendar of shows under the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation link.