Country Singer Brings Show To Troops
(October 8, 2010)
BASRA, Iraq (Oct. 1, 2010) – “On the heels of 9/11, I heard
a quote from Teddy Roosevelt that said, ‘Every American has
an obligation to do what you can, with what you have, where
you are,'” said Michael Peterson, wiping the sweat from his
face as it dripped down from underneath his white cowboy
hat. “I was too old to join [the military], so I figured I
Peterson, a country music singer with three top 10 country hits, put on a show
in Basra at the United States Division-South Resiliency Campus, Oct. 1.
“What a thrill it is for me to be back,” said Peterson, who has been to Iraq
three times this year.
Peterson, an Arizona native, not only sang, but talked to the crowd about his
life changing experiences.
Sept. 11 was a turning point in his life, Peterson said.
“I never realized that I had built my life in such a way that my only purpose
was to sell records and sell tickets and make payroll,” Peterson said. “I
realized I wanted to be more than that.”
Country music artist
Michael Peterson performs a song for soldiers
and Department of the Army civilians assigned to
United States Division-South at the USD-S
Resiliency Campus stage in Basra, Oct. 1, 2010.
Peterson took a two-year break from the music industry to find his path, the
one-man band said as he wiped the sweat off his hands and face caused by the
People would ask him why he wasn't performing anymore, he said.
“The best thing I can tell you is that after we did 700 shows in three years,
which sort of felt like a deployment to me, I was tired,” he said.
After his two year hiatus, he returned to making music not only because he
missed it, but because he wanted to make a difference in people's lives.
Jill Chambers has been helping him with that. A retired Army colonel, Chambers
worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff for 12 years, focusing on the health and
wellness of soldiers. Thanks to her determination, places like Basra now have
Because of her vision and insight, she planted the seed of Comprehensive Soldier
Fitness, Peterson said, and that seed has developed into the very stage he was
Aside from performing for troops, Peterson is also a national spokesman for a
non-profit organization that supports military children through scholarship
“It is a scholarship designed to help ensure that every young person, whose
parents gave their lives to the service of our nation does not have to worry
about paying for college,” Peterson said.
Peterson showed gratitude to Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, USD-S and 1st Infantry
“I probably wouldn't be doing this if he had not been encouraging, supportive,
inviting,” said Peterson, who has known Brooks since 2005.
The evening continued with laughs and applause each time Peterson finished a set
or spoke humorously about his life.
“It really is nice to be playing music again,” Peterson said. “I am still making
music and we are having a lot of fun doing that.”
Article and photo by Army Spc. James Kennedy Benjamin
305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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