Army Entertainment

Army Entertainment is Entertainment for the Soldier by the Soldier. We make it happen. Soldiers from around the globe are chosen according to their talents and skills to bring entertainment to our Army Family. It is professional entertainment because our Soldiers nothing less than professional all the time. You can trust us to do things that no other production company in the world can do. All Soldiers, all the time.

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What Made America Strong: US World Power

US Economic Power is a River of Life

The US Economic Power is a River of Life

There were three major events that thrust the United States into the arena as a world power. Our commitment to World War One was our first real test. At the end of the Second World War a key decision was made that really benefited our workforce. Finally, the election of President Ronald Reagan put a nail in a proverbial coffin. When I think of an event I do not think of progression of events such as a war or a philosophy. Those are effects of a certain cause. I will describe what were the three major causes of our world dominance.

It was the decision to finally enter the First World War and stay until it was won, that was the first major world-power event in our short history. There were many factors that brought us to that decision in spite of President Wilson’s campaign promise to remain neutral. The sinking of the Lusitania was upsetting, especially since Americans had no clue that she was heavy laden with munitions. Submarines off our east coast was unsettling. The “Zimmerman Letter” that was decoded and released to the public describing an alliance between Mexico and Germany was the last straw for many Americans. The fact that the Allies owed us over $2,000,000,000.00 whereas Germany only owed us about $56,000,000 was probably a bigger factor than we like to admit. Yet the fact that we committed, entered the war, stayed until the end and had an influence in the Treaty of Versailles made us look like one pretty big dog for the first time in world history. Never mind the fact that President Wilson’s “14 Points” were largely disregarded in favor of punishing Germany and setting the world up for another big war.

Before we dropped the bomb on Japan and demonstrated our technological might to the world, The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in 1944 poised us for economic world dominance. Don’t get me wrong, the atomic bomb was big, but maybe not as big as we historically like to think it was. One would think that the first one would have been big enough to convince the Japanese to surrender. We waited. We waited. On the third day we decided to do it again. That second one was somehow a little more convincing. More than instruments of war, the “GI Bill of Rights” that provided multiple benefits to veterans of our armed forces, proved to be the deciding factor of our true dominance. It was our brains not our brawn that made us strong. Within a few years of the war we had the most educated work force in the world. Within 10 years over 2 million veterans had degrees and over five and a half million had gone to trade school on the government’s dime. Our education made us productive and wealthy. The whole world has benefitted from the GI Bill.

The election of a single man was the last great event in a very colorful history that proved to be our most dominant decision as a nation. We elected President Ronald Reagan, an actor, to represent our country in the seat of the presidency. Before Winston Churchill described the Iron Curtain to America, Communism was already beginning to form a cancer in the hearts and minds of the Soviet Union and the world. The Cold War that developed between the United States and the USSR brought us close to total annihilation through a policy of mutual nuclear destruction. President Reagan resolved to win this Cold War. He built our nuclear armament to ridiculous levels forcing the Soviets to compete in an arms race they could not win. It was a risky game that pulled them “all in” as it were. Communism, he felt, was a failed system that could never be sustained, and rather than let it linger and die slowly he drove the nails into the coffin and insured a quick demise.

As I stated, there were three main events that thrust us into world power. By choosing these three events I am not diminishing many great people and events in the past century. I am not even choosing political sides. People often love to lambast great men as being complete imbeciles. I don’t think one could rise to the seat of President of the United States if he were an idiot. Unlike President Reagan though, others simply didn’t have an opportunity to culminate something as important as the Cold War. Certainly the atomic bomb was more spectacular than the GI Bill, but did it truly make us great as a nation? No it did not. It was not our entrance into World War One as much as our resolve to finish the war that made it a worthy event. Together these three events made us strong as a nation, perhaps stronger than any nation in the history of man.

Henretta, J. A., R. Edwards and R. Self (2012). America: a Concise History, Volume Two: Since 1865. 5th ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s (ch 21)
Ibid (ch 24 & 26)
“Ronald Reagan.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/ronald-reagan>.

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Video Auditions for the US Army Soldier Show

Video Auditions

Another wave of the selection process out of the way as SPC Melendez starts breaking down the tables. Officers, Enlisted and civilians all had a hand in choosing who gets to come to the live auditions for the Soldier Show.

Hundreds of submissions all boiled down to about 70 videos watched at Army Entertainment in JBSA Ft Sam Houston. These were the cream of the crop that made it to the video auditions for the US Army Soldier Show. A room full of civilians, Enlisted and Officers all judged these Soldiers‘ ability to present themselves on video. We will all see in a couple weeks how the “chosen” will present themselves to a live audience.

I am always amazed at how much the scores vary. You would think that, with the sheer amount of criteria that these Soldiers are judged upon, the scores would be similar. Not at all. People have different tastes. One may see a character flaw before another. One may detect a hearing deficiency in a few short bars that another judge didn’t pick up on. One judge may see that slight rhythm glitch that a perform displays.

In the end, because of our well-rounded board-members from various walks-of-life, I feel that we have chosen the best of the best to come to the live auditions. They have a pitch sense, a sense of rhythm, and an artistic sensitivity that is unparallelled. They are all romantic artists. Of course! Who is more romantic than a Soldier? Not many people will die for a way of life… an idea. Soldiers capture the heart and soul of America. We are America. No wonder the Soldier Show continues to draw crowds wherever they go. It’s terrible to see the hordes of people turned away with tears in their eyes when there is no more room left in the house. Some of these people will travel many miles to the next garrison simply to see what they missed – never to be disappointed. This is THE SOLDIER SHOW. Come early. Don’t miss it! To be in that room with your Army Family, shoulder to shoulder, side by side, one unified body with one understanding – life at its fullest – nothing compares to this experience.

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Nutrition Basics

My Nutrition Basics – My Philosophy, Not Science

My Food

This is a basic sample of how I like to and do eat. My wife is awesome!!!

Many views abound when it comes to Nutrition. How can this be? Aren’t we all made of simple cells with similar needs? Absolutely not! All people are complex creatures with various deficiencies and genetic predispositions based upon their ancestry. Maybe my ancestors ate little meat and lots of grains. Well, I probably should eat a similar diet. Maybe my ancestors were hunters and ate lots of meat and veggies. I should follow their lead. How can you know? Some people are lucky enough to be pure-breeds. They can go back to the land of their ancestors and see how their people lived and ate. Most of us are pretty much mutts. We’ll have to do a little experimenting to discover what is right for our bodies.

I generally tend to operate according to a few basic philosophical principles when it comes to nutrition and diet:

  • God didn’t mess up. What comes from a farm is better than what is manufactured.
  • We didn’t evolve to become big-brained humans by excluding whole classes of foods. We are omnivores, not carnivores or herbivores.
  • Generally moderation and balance are the key… unless your goals are extreme. Then an extreme, yet healthy-ish approach is in order.
  • Clean eating is great. The body has systems that remove toxins. Don’t worry about a few toxins; they keep the systems running properly, but don’t overdo it often. Don’t test God.
  • Don’t be too picky. If you only eat the choice parts you will miss lots of nutrition. Eat a hotdog occasionally… and gnaw the ends of your chicken bones.
  • The body will repair itself if you provide the nutrition it needs to fix the issue. That being said, if you lose a finger because you carelessly thought you were tough enough not to get frost-bite, you’ll heal. But you’ll still only have 9 fingers.
  • Yes, some people are gifted and can draw nutrients from a rock & still look like gods. I’m not a god. I have to think about what I eat.
  • I live a vigorous lifestyle and eat accordingly. If you aren’t willing to chase a large beast, tackle it, overcome it, murder it and eat it, maybe you should eat a more docile diet. Otherwise you probably are not hormonally set to digest it properly.
  • People who are “into” artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes are killing their natural instincts of satiation. They will never be satisfied. They live a life of deception, fooling themselves, and often find comfort in tricking others into eating their unnatural non-foods with delightfully tasty recipes. It’s like a religion to these people. Don’t try to change their religion, just lead by example and maybe they’ll catch-on.
  • My good old-fashioned 93 year-old grandfather grew up eating potato chips dipped in lard, chased down with a gallon of sweet tea daily. And more salt than you can imagine. How did he survive past 35? Is it possible that fat, salt and sugar are not as bad for me as “they” say it is?
  • When you see articles about vegetarians outliving omnivores, remember that I, who eat lean meat and lots of veggies, am lumped into the same category as those who eat fast food for every meal. Don’t trust that kind of shaky science.
  • Jesus said that His people were the salt of the Earth. I don’t think he was saying that His people were bad for the other inhabitants. I also think he was in favor of having more of them. In that case, I’ll have a little more salt, please.
  • I eat real butter, real sugar and real fat. I think they are food and I would rather have real food in me than something that was manufactured to take its place.
  • I don’t think God messed up when he made a cow. I drink whole milk. Besides, the doctor won’t even let my babies drink the lighter milks. And, no; we are not the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal. Likewise I eat whole eggs because God also didn’t mess up when he made a chicken, and I don’t want to insult God.
  • I have heard all kinds of stories about pigs being dirty animals and why I shouldn’t eat pork. Chickens are just as disgusting. Fish are too. Think about where eggs come from. Honey is bee barf. Milk is pre-digested food. We’re human. We eat weird stuff. Shut up already!
  • I like my food cooked, generally. There are fringe obsessions with raw foods based on shaky science and faith. Those guys are the exception not the rule. Humans generally universally prefer their foods cooked. Maybe we were supplanted here by aliens and need our food to be cooked. Whatever. We all do it except for the freaks. There must be a reason.
  • Alcohol and caffeine are mysterious substances that occur naturally and have been proven to be of some cooky health benefit to us. Take them in their more natural forms. When you start drinking energy drinks instead of coffee and tea, and straight liquor instead of beer and wine, you are fooling your body like those zealots who prefer food-substitutes. You’re only a couple steps from smoking crack. Beware!!!

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Family Building

Family With Our Gingerbread HouseNow that’s family-building. OK. Bad pun. That’s my family. We just built our first gingerbread house together. It was awesome fun. I really cannot believe it came out so great-looking considering how much input we allowed Zsolti to have. From the mixing of the batter, to the roll-out, to the assembly and decoration, we all played a part. Well, Gabor did very little besides add a lot of love and slobber, but we don’t plan to feed it to anyone else.

Being in the Army and a Soldier who’s away from my family half of every year means, Christmas is a time of catching up. We don’t mind if the boys make a mess. We’ll clean up. We don’t care if they get too tired and whine a lot. We’ll tolerate it and get to bed early. Heck I have PT at 0630 in the morning anyway. Christmas is fun and nothing is gonna spoil it.

Zsolti got the race-car he wanted. He was soooooo funny when he woke us up this morning. “Daddy, you gotta see this. You gotta see this!” He got just what he wanted. Of course he did. Tunde PsyOped him into wanting exactly what Santa was going to bring him. My wife’s got SKILLZ. Gabor was happy as snot about everything. Lots of sweets. Lotsa toys. Nothing else matters.

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Soldier Show Deadline

20131220-221730.jpgWell, it has come almost as slowly as Christmas but it is here – the deadline for application packets to the Soldier Show. We’ll be presenting a lot of great talent to the selection board in January. Everyone keep your fingers crossed!

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Operation Rising Star is a Success | Army Entertainment

LTG Mike Ferriter coins SGT Drake DeLucca

LTG Mike Ferriter “coins” the Army Entertainment crew for a job well done in Operation Rising Star.

Hahaha! I love coins from 3-stars!!! LTG Mike Ferriter congratulated the crew of Operation Rising Star for a job well done for the 9th annual Army-family singing competition. This international production was a success because of a bunch of Soldiers who aspire to rise above and stand strong as beacons of professionalism in an Army that you can trust to get the job done. They, with the help of some key civilians at Army Entertainment made the impossible happen this past week. On a shoestring budget, with almost no outside help (Thank you for your support AKO.) a professional production was broadcast around the globe for the morale of our Army Family.

It was such an honor to be a part of this year’s Operation Rising Star. I am proud to be associated with such a motivated group of Soldiers who really know how to get the job done. A production of this scale would have cost a fortune if done by civilians. Who needs ‘em? We did a professional job with professional Soldiers! We rocked it!!!

The contestants were the top 12 army-family singers from garrisons around the world. They converged to battle it out at Ft Sam Houston, Texas for a grand prize of $1000 cash and a demo-recording package worth $18,000. Many thanks goes to Navy Federal Credit Union for sponsoring this annual competition. Without them it never would have happened.

 

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‘The support for the military here is awesome’ – The Redstone Rocket: People Profile

SGT D @ the Hog 3

SGT D, the Multimedia Manager for the US Army Soldier Show is proud to be back in Alabama while on tour with the Show.

 

‘The support for the military here is awesome’ – The Redstone Rocket: People Profile.

Sgt. Drake DeLucca only had to introduce himself to get the crowd going at the Armed Forces Celebration Week’s Soldier Show.

“I’m not only the multimedia manager,” DeLucca said from the stage to a packed audience at the July 24th show at the Von Braun Center’s Concert Hall.

“I am a fellow Alabamian! Roll Tide!”

And with that, he got a roar from the crowd like no other…

This was the most incredible  article I think anyone has ever written about me and our Show. I really appreciate all our peeps in Huntsville and around the Redstone Arsenal area. They are the greatest!

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Army Entertainment’s Operation Rising Star

A Professional Production, Like No Other

Operation Rising Star

Rehearsals for Operation Rising Star

There is nothing like working with Army Entertainment.We have been in production for the finals of Operation Rising Star. Every year around the globe, garrisons hold singing competitions. Every year in December, the finals take place in San Antonio at Ft Sam Houston. Amazingly, the Soldiers at Army Entertainment, with the guidance of a few very gifted civilian staff, produce an incredibly professional broadcast production, similar to what you might see on one of the major channels. I am so proud to have been a part of the excitement this year. Tune in to http://oprisingstar.com/ to watch the unfolding of the winner. The talent from our Army Family was extraordinary. The online voter turnout totaled near 130,ooo. I won’t tell you who the winner is because I have sworn not to tell. Go to oprisingstar.com to see for yourself.

Genienne Samuels is our spokes model. I was on the tele-prompt. The judges were some of the best in the industry – internationally renowned country artist Michael Peterson, Debra Byrd  from the Voice and Idol and the 12th SGM of the Army Jack Tilley. Together with our online voting audience, we have a new Rising Star. What a blast we had!

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Audition Tips for the US Army Soldier Show

I literally see hundreds of videos every year of Soldiers who would absolutely love to be in the US Army Soldier Show. I am always amazed at how many Soldiers have some tremendous talent that they’ve been using to lift morale in whatever unit they happen to be assigned to. Soldiers are such a romantic lot. I guess it takes an idealistic mindset that would send a soul running through hell and high water for nothing more than an idea – a way of life.

That being said, sometimes our Soldiers are still a bit rough around the edges. Often the videos we receive just don’t do their talent justice. So in case you were wondering if your video measures up… here are some do’s and don’ts to help you produce a nice simple video that compliments instead of distracts from your talent.

Common Video Submission Mistakes and Tips

  1. Denying your true talent – SPC Grainger in this video, thinks he is a serious singer but doesn’t respect his own great dancing ability. On the other hand, if you sell yourself as a dancer but are too timid to sing even though you can, you are denying your gift. Ask your peers and mentors their opinions. Maybe your perception is skewed because you can only see your flipped image in a mirror from one single direction.
  2. Poor Lighting – Make sure you are well lit but not washed out. The most common mistake is too much back-lighting. I literally have videos of silhouettes. The only features I can see are the whites of their eyes and their teeth. Who is that? I don’t know.
  3. Rejecting your audience – Don’t state who you are with confidence and then turn away and timidly sing to the corner of the room for your entire song. Likewise, don’t close your eyes and block me out. If you need to communicate something to me, you better acknowledge my presence, stand strong and sing TO me. I may be on the other side of that camera, but you need to be singing TO me, not just in my presence.
  4. Poor wardrobe choices – Wear something that compliments you. Don’t do your video in your PTs or with a silly cap on. In addition, we are fit, healthy Soldiers who look sexy naturally. If you distract the eye with your skimpy, blatant sexuality, it WILL detract from your performance.
  5. Not enough variety – If you do three songs that are similar in rhythm and style and mood you demonstrate your inability to adapt to new situations. That is definitely not an Army mentality.
  6. No musical track – Acapella songs are great, but if your submission includes no songs with accompaniment track, how do we know you can match pitch and sing in tempo?
  7. No solo footage – It’s wonderful to see someone who HAS and CAN work well in a group, but how will we know which performer is you? What if someone else completely outshines you? What if I call you to find out who that other person is on your video?
  8. Audio distortion – We know you are professional Soldiers and not professional entertainers, but have a little pride in your talent. Often we have adequate auditions done on high-end phones, but they better be in a proper setting. (see the notes above on poor lighting) If you are in a small room, too close to the mic and  the sound is distorting, then you will annoy the listeners instead of entertaining them. We’ll skip to the next video.
  9. Obscure song choice – Hearing a familiar song is like seeing an old friend. An audition is your one opportunity to grab your audiences attention. You don’t have time to introduce them to a new song. Grab them with something they will recognize quickly so you can jump straight into the good part of the song immediately without the set-up.
  10. Have fun! – visualize being in a low-stress environment where you wouldn’t care so much if you make small technical mistakes. I see auditions where people are so nervous that I feel nervous as well. Is that how you want to make your audience feel?
  11. Be yourself – Don’t try to be someone that you are not. It’s one thing to alter your state of mind and walk a mile in another man’s shoes, but if you’re trying to “act”, look, sound or be some other entertainer, you better be unbelievably believable or no one will trust you.
  12. Rehearse at performance level – There is a time to break things down “Barney style” for technical skill. but once you know a song, practice at performance level. Imagine yourself in front of 10,000 people. When you get the chance to actually perform in that setting you want to definitely be prepared for that situation. So do the Soldier thing – train like we fight.
  13. Leave them wanting more - Often we have video in excess of 10 minutes for a single talent. When was the last time you sat and watched an info-mercial? When was the last time you had a marathon viewing of dozens of info-mercials, one right after the other? Have pity on our selection board; edit your videos. Show only what you want them to see. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Over and out.
  14. Be a story-teller – You are a leader. You are in front of people to convey some message, moral or story. Communicate with them. Be “IN” the situation that you are conveying so they can simply empathize with you. Don’t “try” to “feel” it. For instance, the National Anthem. Remember how you felt when you peered between the cell bars that early morning and saw, by the light of the bombs bursting in air, your beautiful, tattered flag still waving? If you cannot remember that moment, sing something else.

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Army Entertainment’s POC for the Soldier Show

SGT D POC

Army Entertainment’s POC for the Soldier Show

SGT Drake DeLucca, Army Entertainment’s POC for the US Army Soldier Show, is intense. He loves his job cultivating talent for the show. With the help of SPC Melendez & SPC Phelps, he answers all questions and collects all information for the Soldier Show prospective cast and technicians. When he was taught in Army Basic Training that the proper response to “relax” is “NEVER”, he took it to heart. He is relentless. A good Soldier is hard to acquire… a great Soldier is sometimes impossible. SGT D never wants to give up. A failure is simply a chance to regroup, examine new avenues of approach, adjust fire and proceed. Don’t worry about his stress level though. He knows when to punch the clock. Not that his stress level decreases outside of work; he has two energetic boys & a beautiful wife at home. They assure us that he is just as intense until he’s sleeping like a baby in prep for tomorrow’s PT. When they talk about false motivation being better than no motivation, they were definitely not talking about SGT D. He is 0-60 in .5 seconds. So if you need info about the Soldier Show or someone to explain things to an adamant NCO or Commander, definitely contact SGT D for support. He’s got your back!

SGT D says:

Remember. Be professional. Stand Strong. Increase the trust. Never circumnavigate without properly informing. Always respect the Support Chain and Command. Mind what is in your charge until you are no longer in charge of it. Don’t expect a pat on the back; you’re in the Army not the Air Force. Pat your Soldiers on the back when they deserve it. A pat on the back is not “laying hands on a Soldier”. Patience is a virtue that is possessed by those who rarely get what they want in the Army. Be relentless when the greater good requires it. Remember, things could always be worse… but if you can make it better, do it!!!

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Manning the Phones for the US Army Soldier Show at Army Entertainment

SPC Melendez

SPC Melendez manning the phones at Army Entertainment, preparing prospects for submission to the US Army Soldier Show

SPC Melendez is one of our fearless staff members who mans the phones here at Army Entertainment. Right now, most of her time is spent making sure talent prospects for the 2014 US Army Soldier Show have all the paperwork required for consideration. Hundreds of Soldiers apply every year to be a part of the Soldier Show, but only a handful are chosen to come to the live auditions. Soldiers like SPC Melendez are true professionals who operate behind the scenes and are a first point of contact for Soldiers wanting to be a part of our grand mission – Entertainment for the Soldier by the Soldier. You can always trust these guys to stand strong till the end and complete the mission.

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Where’s the Paper, Soldier Show Cast?

Where's the Paper?

“Where’s the Paper?” asks SPC Phelps jokingly, as Soldiers prepare for auditions for the US Army Soldier Show.

SPC Phelps from Army Entertainment Detachment jokingly asks, “Where’s the paper?” It is important that the prospects for the 2014 US Army Soldier Show complete all required paperwork before being considered for the live auditions in February. The Soldier Show cast members and technicians are required to be either Officers or Enlisted in the US Army. They are not actually assigned to Army Entertainment, they are attached. That means there are special requirements that need to be met in order to borrow them from there units. First and foremost, their Battalion Commander has to sign off on this lengthy commitment as each worthy Soldier will be away from their unit from February thru November, 2014.

Why all the paper? Simple. We are not just an Army of grunts. We are professionals! Certainly we love firing the big guns, driving the awesome vehicles and playing with all those expensive toys, but there are obligations to fill before the privileges. Did you file the correct paperwork? Did you get that new DA photo? Did you check that email before lunch? To be in today’s Army you have to be a professional. America’s trust is in us doing the right thing. We are the good guys, but no one knows if there is no account of your deeds. Do the right thing. Be professional. Be a leader. Be the face of the Army. We at Army Entertainment have to be professional because the Soldier Show is the face of the Army.

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SGT Zeller – US Army Soldier Show Technical Director

SGT Zeller

SGT Zeller installing a sound wall in the Army Entertainment sound studio.

The Soldier Show is a huge production that cannot be entrusted to anyone but the utmost professionals. From the rigging of the grid that carries the sound and lights, to the creation of the sets that make the show look like a million bucks, our trusty enlisted technicians make it all happen. SGT Zeller is the technical director of the US Army Soldier Show while we are on tour. When he finally gets a chance to come home to his family, there are so many things to be done in preparation for the next tour. We sometimes think there is nothing SGT Zeller cannot do. He is always the professional who leads his Soldiers to accomplish the most daunting tasks in a timely manner. You want a new sound wall? Done! You want a ring of fire? Done! You want to raise 80,000 pounds of steel, sound and lights in the air? Done! Relax. It’s all under control at the Soldier Show.

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Soldier Show Staff Performs at Camelot Elementary

Recently the Staff of the US Army Soldier Show created and performed a show for a local school. The parents, teachers and especially the kids loved it. Camelot Elementary School in San Antonio, TX is a wonderful place for children to learn. Army Entertainment Detachment has sponsored this local institution to provide positive role models for children who might not know what we, the US Army, are all about. The Army is more than Soldiers who fight wars. We are professionals who live and work in every community in America. This is our country and we love it! We care about making this a better America. We all have a promise to Stand Strong as a beacon of light in a professional world. Even when we are playing with kids, we show the professional, disciplined, organized side of America that many rarely get to see. The children love it! It is wonderful to see these kids’ faces light up when a Soldier enters the room. You should see them proudly salute as they walk by. They trust us to be the protectors of America. They are awesome kids!!!

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Army Entertainment!

Army Entertainment is Entertainment for the Soldier by the Soldier. We make it happen. Soldiers from around the globe are chosen according to their talents and skills to bring entertainment to our Army Family. It is professional entertainment because our Soldiers nothing less than professional all the time. You can trust us to do things that no other production company in the world can do. All Soldiers, all the time.

Become a part of the Cast and Crew.

Army Entertainment is seeking technicians and performers for the 2014 U.S.Army Soldier Show and Army Concert Tour. Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your talents whether it’s in the spotlight or behind the scenes. Auditions are open to all Soldiers – Active, Reserve and Guard – and all nominees must have a minimum of 90 days time in service remaining after completion of 2014 tour (on or about 30 November 2014). Nominees must be deployable worldwide as Army Entertainment will tour to overseas areas. Video auditions and technical review will take place mid-January 2014, with live-auditions occurring in February, 2014. Finalists will be notified by Army Entertainment. Soldiers selected for 2014 Army Entertainment programs will have change of duty or change of rater evaluation reports completed prior to departure from the parent unit.
Apply Now!Contact Us

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Thanksgiving in Georgia and the Cotton is High

The last bale of cotton for the season.

The last bale of cotton for the season.

It’s wonderful to be with family around the holidays. My parents have moved back to the family farm since retirement. Mama grew up in South Georgia picking cotton. For most of her childhood she had 2 dresses that she made for herself. When it was time to take the goods from the farm to the market she was so excited when it was her turn to go with my Granddaddy. They may have grown the cotton but they didn’t spin the thread or weave the material. When in town, Mama got to pick out the flower. At that time the flower sacks were made of cotton fabric that was printed with beautiful floral prints. Mama chose the flower & in turn was choosing the material that her new dress would be made out of.

Some say that it was a simpler time. If getting up before dawn, picking cotton with your hands, gathering eggs to pay for your bus ride to school, walking miles & miles everyday and studying by lantern light while you heat your bath water on a wood-burning stove is a simpler life, I like my complicated life. I would much rather climb in a tractor picker than pick by hand. I would rather flip a switch than light a lamp. I would much rather set a thermostat on the wall than go outside and chop some more wood for the stove and fireplace. Wow how things change rapidly in this world. It is wonderful. When people complain about this world getting worse, I don’t say anything. Those ignorant people can go lean against a tree as I visit a nice cozy restroom.

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Equal Opportunity and Cussing

Women Ready for Frontline Combat?

Women in Combat

Don’t disrespect women by saying they are not strong enough for combat. This is an old, ignorant concept.

Yesterday I got myself in trouble again by pissing-off an NCO who is as passionate in his opinions as I am. We struck up a conversation in the presence of several Soldiers about cussing. I said that to have words we cannot say makes no sense to me; why would one word or syllable be more offensive than another? He said it is ignorant and that if you use a cuss word, what are you actually saying? I agreed but added that there are words that we deem forbidden that are the only proper terms in the English language. Bewildered, he asked, “And what word would that be, SGT DeLucca?” I frankly said “F#%$” without pause. (I won’t use it in the context of this article because it is literally illegal in some places, which appalls me.) Long story short, soon he was loudly preaching at me and accusing me of being ignorant and of disrespecting women. This of course tremendously pissed me off. As I stood at parade rest I told him I would not let him accuse me of disrespecting women. I respect women more than he does. He loudly relieved me from duty. So I wrote an incriminating email to him which read…

SFC,
I beg your attention and forgiveness for being forthright with these statements. I say this because of my great respect for these Soldiers. I put this in black and white because I am willing to accept any repercussions that accompany this email. While standing up for my Soldiers, this may be deemed disrespectful to you. If you don’t want to hear it, I probably wouldn’t either. But you need to.
Your sexist mindset and remarks offend me greatly. The fact that you attempted a misdirection, insulting my intelligence and accusing me of being disrespectful, only made me angrier. You tell me to mind my words around females because you think they are easily hurt and offended. You tell me to respect them but you think I should  respect their lack of intestinal fortitude and inability to adapt. You want me to treat them differently than their male counterparts because you think they are not tough enough to handle what the males handle on a regular basis. You want me to protect their innocent ears from language that is obviously more offensive than the tragedies associated with war, instead of creating the calloused, brazen warriors who must stare-down bullets and bombs and keep moving. You want me to coddle and shelter them as children because you think they are unable to cope with the horrors that we make men face everyday. You want me to discriminate and treat them differently because they are female.

I will not discriminate against these Soldiers like that. You think like an old man. This is a new day and a new Army. I’m here to proclaim that they are just as strong as you are. They have been held to a lesser standard for way too long. Men like you continue to hold women down. If the Army says that you only need to do 40 pushups, you will do 40 pushups. If the Army says that you, because you are female only have to do 20 because you naturally cannot compete with males, then you of course will only do 20. It’s time for the discrimination to stop. If you think that is disrespectful it just shows how old you are in your mindset.
There was a day when I was told, “You jump pretty high for a white boy.” And I took it as a compliment because I thought white people were naturally physically inferior to black people. Now I recognize how offensive that old-school, racist statement really is, because I have relinquished the hold that negative racial stereotypes had on me. It’s time to recognize all the sexist statements that we make out of “respect” and “consideration” for what has been formerly & formally accepted. We need the old mindset to change. If women are weaker and more-easily hurt or offended, it is simply because we have for too long told them that they are supposed to be weaker and more easily hurt. You sat right there in that vehicle and told these females how offended they should be because they are females and not males. You asked for confirmation that they were offended because certainly they should accept that stereotypical weakness. You asked them, prodded them, told them that they should be hurt and offended. What? When does a Drill Sergeant beg his Soldiers to succumb to some weakness? I will not let you disrespect my Soldiers by assuming and asserting that they are, and should be, weaker than their male counterparts. Do not ever let me hear you say it again. That is NOT equal opportunity. You should be ashamed.
In addition I do accept that I should mind my language in the presence of certain individuals. We go to war and die to protect those people whom we want to lead a sheltered lifestyle. I do not want my wife, children, pastor, mother, or even some of my Officers to see or hear some of the things that I’ve been made privy to during my short time in the Army (And I’m sure you’ve experienced much more. Much respect!). They speak a language indicative of a sheltered lifestyle. I try to mimic their language when in their presence. But in the presence of Soldiers, so as not to indicate that I’ve chosen a sheltered lifestyle, I will speak a professional language. That language may seem short, frank, brash or harsh but it is a language that commands respect. When was the last time you heard a Drill Sergeant break his speech pattern to replace a forbidden word? Do you remember what he was talking about? Probably not, because instead of being professional, saying what he meant & meaning what he said, he let some fear of reprimand dictate the emphasis of his statement therefore demeaning it’s message. You heard the word that was supposed to have come out of his mouth or even the silly replacement word but you heard none of what he was actually saying from that point on. Shame on him for letting the word-police undermine what he needed to say in the presence of professional Soldiers. Speak professionally. Treat all Soldiers as equals. Refuse to cater to their weakness. It is our duty as NCOs to make them tougher & stronger.
Respectfully, but passionately intended to call self-attention to your blatant sexism and lack of “EO“,
SGT DeLucca

In conclusion I just want to add that I agree with this NCOs basic premise. He was saying simply that most people cuss because they are ignorant and are not creative enough in their use of the English language. This is very true. In an office-type setting I generally guard my words and try to be creative in my speech. Unfortunately there are times when I need to be frank with my Soldiers in order to be quickly understood. In an office rarely would one be injured by large objects moving rapidly in his direction. In the practical world I live in, people could die daily if we were not quick to yell or even shove or pull  them out of the path of something deadly. I cannot stop to ask a Soldier if they mind me putting my hands on them. I cannot hesitate from quickly choosing the words that will both get their attention and motivate them to action. It is often the most offensive expletive on the tip of my tongue enforced with a very aggressive tone and volume that catches their attention. It saves lives. It is a tool that should be readily available to Soldiers who work in a real-world, often-deadly environment. To create rules that prevent this very proper speech pattern is both dangerous and tremendously disrespectful of everyone who would benefit from its usage.

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