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Marne-A-Palooza brings fun to Iraq
1st Sgt. Gregory L. Roman, the first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Operations Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, tests the water as he is the first victim of the dunk tank during Marne-A-Palooza. Soldiers were able to dunk their favorite soldiers for a payment of five push-ups per ball. - photo by Photo by Spc. Jessica Rohr
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — Hundreds of service members and civilians attended a concert featuring musicians from the 3rd Infantry Division Band on April 24 at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq.
Task Force Marne and Morale, Welfare and Recreation presented Marne-A-Palooza, a night of live music, games and prize drawings. The event featured the Night Shift Brass Band, Sasquatch and the 4 Horsemen of the Arockalypse.
The Night Shift Brass Band opened with New Orleans-style street jazz. They covered several hit songs, including “April,” originally recorded by the Young Blood Brass Band, and “I Feel Like Funkin’ it Up” by Rebirth Brass Band. Band members tossed Mardi Gras beads to the crowd.
“I thought it was awesome,” said Spc. Nick M. Bowie, a trombone player in the 3rd ID’s Night Shift Brass Band. “We had an awesome turnout. The crowd was really into it.”
Sasquatch, a top 40, popular country cover band, performed next. The audience sang along as the band covered Montgomery Gentry’s “One in Every Crowd.”
“Sasquatch is definitely the best,” said Sgt. Siera M. Greiner, a medic with the 313th Ground Ambulance, Task Force 61st Multifunction Medical Battalion. “They played music that everyone knows, can enjoy, can sing to, and they were energetic. I enjoyed all the songs.”
Throughout the night, audience members toured vendors’ booths and snacked on sandwiches and drinks provided by the main dining facility. Attendees also had fun trying to dunk their favorite soldiers in a dunk tank. Lt. Col. Nora R. Marcos, battalion commander of Division Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, out of Fort Stewart, took a few dunkings.
“The dunk tank was my favorite part of Marne-A-Palooza,” Greiner said. “It was fun to watch people dunk the lieutenant colonel.”
Many local organizations made the event possible. Kellogg, Brown and Root; MWR; Exchange New Car Sales; Army and Air Force Exchange Service and the main DFAC sponsored the concert and donated prizes.
“It was great that they were able to coordinate across so many organizations — like AAFES, the MWR and the band — and make them all come together,” said Staff Sgt. Debra T. Whittingham, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Target Audience Analysis Team with the 346th Tactical Psychological Operations Company. “It’s a really good event. My favorite part has been … the opportunity to see the bazaar vendors because I have never gone before. It was good to see them out here and what goods they have to offer.”
The event ended when the 4 Horsemen of the Arockalypse covered several heavy metal hits. Harley Davidson T-shirts and bandanas were thrown into a mosh pit of fans during “Walk” by Pantera.
An iPod Touch, provided by Exchange New Car Sales, also was raffled off. Peter J. Doyle, a program manager with Exchange New Car Sales from Tipperary, Ireland, drew a name from the box and proclaimed Pvt. Carol A. Ruiz, a mental health specialist with the 85th Combat Stress Control, the winner.
“It’s a great way to show our appreciation to the troops,” Doyle said. “It’s all the little things. It’s just a nice thing to give back to them to say ‘thank you’ for the job they do out here.”

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