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AF Bands brings country & blues to Europe

ROBInS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Air Force Reserve Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe are saddling up with Trick Pony and Blues Traveler’s John Popper for a whirlwind concert tour that will hit four European bases Nov. 21 to Dec. 3.

Headquarters USAFE at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and Headquarters AFRC here are co-sponsoring Operation Season’s Greetings. Four cheerleaders from the New England Patriots will tour with the musicians and technicians from the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and USAFE Band.

“The combined band serves as a good reminder of how Air Force reservists partner with the active-duty Air Force and the Air National Guard to create the Total Force,” said Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, chief of the Air Force Reserve, Pentagon. “We’re working together on this tour to boost troop morale and let our people overseas know their Air Force family cares about them.”

The Operation Season’s Greetings tour will perform at Ramstein Air Base and Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany; Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; Keflavik, Iceland; and at least one deployed location in Southwest Asia.

Performing as the opening act, the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band will play well-known rock-and-roll, rap and contemporary favorites.

“Operation Season’s Greetings will put on a show that is on par with any high-dollar concert back home,” said Dave Ballengee, deputy director of the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. “This Air Force tour group is bringing its state-of-the-art sound, stage and lighting equipment and will put on a show that our troops will never forget.”

The primary members of Trick Pony are Heidi Newfield, vocals and harmonica; Keith Burns, acoustic guitar; and Ira Dean, bass as well as acoustic and electric guitar. Their newest CD – “R.I.D.E.” – was in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 all-genre chart during its first week in stores.

Mr. Popper will perform as a solo act and is expected to perform some of his hits including the Grammy-winning single “Run Around.”

The tour will cover about 12,000 miles round trip. The performers, technicians, support troops and about 40,000 pounds of equipment will get a lift from an Air Force cargo aircraft and a KC-10 Extender refueling and cargo aircraft.

Serving as the air component of U.S. European Command, USAFE supports U.S. interests and policies throughout the European continent, covering more than 21 million square miles, including 91 countries and territories.

Reserve, active-duty and National Guard Airmen work together as a team to make the U.S. Air Force the most powerful force the world has ever seen. The Air Force Reserve provides about 20 percent of the Air Force’s combat capability for about 4 percent of the total Air Force budget.