The 278th Regimental Combat Team soldiers were saluted with a special visit from fellow Tennessean Charlie Daniels. Daniels and his band entertained the troops by playing some of their favorite songs with a twist.
A reporter with the 278th in Iraq said the crowd of guardsmen roared when "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" became "The Devil Went Down to Iraq."
During the nearly hourlong performance, the Charlie Daniels Band gave the soldiers a slice of Tennessee and an update on football recruiting for the Tennessee Volunteers. After the concert, soldiers lined up as Mr. Daniels autographed everything from guitars to Kevlar helmets reported Edward Pitts.
Staged entertainment is just one of the ways soldiers pass the time on a military base they can leave only during missions. Nearing their fifth month overseas and fourth month in Iraq, the soldiers are finding ways to enjoy themselves despite being thousands of miles from home.
Two members of the 278th, Spc. Shane Reed, son of Robert and Kathy Reed, and Sgt. Derrick Shrum, son of Mark and Lynn Shrum, were given the detail of guarding Daniels and his band during his visit and the performance. While everyone enjoyed the entertainment, Shrum and Reed found themselves being the most envied getting to actually visit with Daniels.
The 278th has also formed sports teams. They blow off steam in the boxing ring or participating in leagues for basketball, volleyball, softball, horseshoes, and dodge ball tournaments.
"The regiment needs diversions like this to relieve stress." stated Sgt. Maj. Jim Kyle.
The regimental team knows their job is more than just a job. They have been given the duty of protecting their country. While birthdays and holidays are celebrated by families without these brave soldiers and voids are felt in many homes, these pleasant distractions help to keep faith with the men and women of the American military and their families. The 278th Regimental Combat Team is undergoing a yearlong deployment in Iraq. The soldiers are adjusting from lives as fathers, teachers, police officers and regular citizens to combat soldiers patrolling Iraq's more than 6,000 miles from home.