AFCENT Band deploys to Iraq in support of Coalition partners
By Capt. Joseph Hansen, U.S. Air Forces Central Command Band , AFCENT Public Affairs
/ Published August 01, 2018
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
For the first time since 2011, the U.S. Air Forces Central Command Band deployed to and performed in Iraq in June. The band performed six times at three installations before more than 1,000 Coalition partners supporting operations against ISIS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The seven-member band’s mission is to strengthen morale and reinforce international relationships in support of the AFCENT priority to develop relationships with Coalition partners and regional allies.
The AFCENT Band is one platform Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Combined Forces Air Component Commander, uses to build relationships with and recognize the importance of Coalition partners’ contributions to delivering airpower in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and OIR in Iraq and Syria.
Task Force Irbil Commander Col. Stephen Ruth hosted the band for four Coalition performances, including a combined event with members of the Atlanta Falcons.
“When the band travels around the AFCENT AOR (area of responsibility), they truly lift people up by their unique professional abilities that they bring to the fight,” said Ruth. “Their music crosses so many chapters of people’s lives that it brings meaning to why they are here, the freedoms that they are fighting to protect, and renews their calling to serve. In essence, the AFCENT Band has a very special way of capturing the human spirit and making us all better after spending time with them.”
As the capstone of the trip, the band performed for more than 200 Coalition partners serving in Iraq.
“We enjoyed the evening and the band boosted morale and motivation, helping us feel a part of the bigger crew with the common goal of providing peace and stability in Iraq,” said an Italian Army officer deployed as part of the 72-nation Coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Since April, this rotation of the AFCENT Band has performed for service members from more than a dozen Coalition and NATO partners serving in 14 locations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. The AFCENT Band supports Department of Defense as well as Department of State priorities in CENTCOM’s 20 nation AOR spanning from Egypt to Afghanistan.