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Patriotic Article
Troops and Veterans
By USAF SSgt. Olufemi Owolabi

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Tops In Blue Entertain Deployed Forces In Kyrgyzstan
(July 17, 2009)

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Senior Airman Demetrius Johnson sings Rod Stewart's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" to Airman 1st Class Ashley Jackson during a July 10, 2009 show at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. Airman Johnson is a Tops In Blue vocalist, and Airman Jackson is assigned to the 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Senior Airman Demetrius Johnson sings Rod Stewart's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" to Airman 1st Class Ashley Jackson during a July 10, 2009 show at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. Airman Johnson is a Tops In Blue vocalist, and Airman Jackson is assigned to the 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron.
 7/13/2009 - MANAS AIR BASE, Kyrgyzstan (AFNS) -- Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and coalition forces got a taste of America July 9 through 10 as the Air Forces' expeditionary entertainers, Tops in Blue, visited Manas Air Base to lift the spirits of troops supporting expeditionary operations.

Tops in Blue, some of the Air Force's most talented entertainers, vocalists, musicians and dancers, put smiles on the faces of deployed members with a live performance that featured songs and dance show as part of their 2009 "To Dream" tour.

The show was repeated again the next morning who were unable to attend the night show due to their work schedule. The show at Manas AB is the first of their concerts in the U.S. Air Force Central
 Command area of responsibility this year.
Tops In Blue Airmen provide entertainment for military members stationed worldwide and at the same time promoting community relations. The entertainment group will perform more than 120 shows in the 2009-2010 season.

"This is what Tops In Blue is all about," said Edward Jones, the performance director for Top In Blue at the Air Force Services Headquarters at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. "(The area of responsibility ), to me, is where the best show is done ... performing for the people in the field (who are) making it happens every day, people who are out here defending freedom. And the good thing about it is, we are Air Force members performing for military members."

Before the show commenced, he said people should expect an energetic show with great songs, which was exactly what happened.

The groups gave the audience a rendition of musical numbers from the oldies, and they also tailored some of their songs to the younger members of the audience to enjoy.

Some of their songs included country music like "Chicken Fried," originally performed by Zac Brown Band, and "Forever and Ever Amen," by Randy Travis. At the same time, they did not leave lovers of pop music behind when they sang "I Can Dream About You," by Dan Hartman, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" originally done by Van Morrison and remade by Rod Stewart, and "Dream Lover" by Mariah Carey.

They took the audience on a musical trip that journeyed from the traditional music played in Tennessee to San Francisco and New Orleans. They also went all the way to Hawaii, with floral-print shirts and ukuleles.

The show concluded with a patriotic song, "I am Proud to Be an American," which was dedicated to all armed forces members and the Air Force Song, for an Air Force centric audience.

For Senior Airman David Ivester, who deployed here from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., this is first time he is seeing the group perform.

"I think it was a great show," he said. "I enjoyed it. I was looking forward to seeing the team perform and they really surpassed my expectation."

For most people at the concert, they were there to enjoy the entire group perform, but for Tech. Sgt. Patrika Boone, there was a second motive. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Wendell Boone Jr., is one of the vocalists in the Tops In Blue team. He was also on the Tops In Blue team during the 2007 tour, but his wife never had the chance to see him perform because she was deployed at the time.

It was like a dream come true when she learned her husband would be here.

"It is amazing to see him perform," she said. "We have not seen each other since March. Seeing him here is a blessing."

She has a few months left at Manas AB, after which she will be going home to take care of their three children. As for him, his journey continues with Tops In Blue until he will finally reunite with his family in March 2010.

Article and photo by USAF SSgt. Olufemi Owolabi
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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