ABOARD USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC/JCC) -- The combination of patriotism and determination was a winning mixture for Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa when country music singer Kimberly Burns and her band performed without their instruments here Dec. 23. The task force is in the Horn of Africa region to disrupt and defeat transnational terrorism.
Burns was here to say thanks to these service members and others risking their lives for America's freedom, she said.
The musicians lost all of their luggage and instruments on a flight to the area and have not had a change of clothes since they arrived Dec. 18.
Yet, Burns' desire to "do my part for America" made for a memorable performance for both the band and task force personnel. Using a borrowed guitar, a plastic bucket, two large metal cooking pans and some spoons, the band performed hits made famous by Sheryl Crow and ZZ Top among others.
"Once we had a guitar, we just improvised the rest," said Burns. "I sang. Rick Durrett hummed a bass line, and the drummer banged on pots and pans from the kitchen."
Much to the delight and amazement of many in the crowd, Ron Krasinski, the drummer, also performed a memorable rendition of "Wipe Out," a 60's hit song by the Surfaris, featuring a classic solo drum roll break.
"I thought the day went very well considering they had no equipment when they got here," said Cpl. Francis C. Abel, intelligence analyst and Roslyn, Pa. native. "It turned out to be an outstanding concert."
Although they have played at a number of military bases, this was their first visit to a ship. After the performance, they were treated to a meal on the enlisted mess decks, where they also signed autographs.
After flying back to Djibouti, the group performed at Camp Lemonier on Christmas eve. There, the camp's Morale, Welfare and Recreation division provided more traditional instruments for their concert, where they were also well received.
"I really had a good time at the show. We were able to just relax and unwind for a little while and get away from the day-to-day monotony of the camp," commented Army Sgt. Andrew M. Smith, a combat cameraman with Fort Meade, Md.'s 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera).
Smith of Poolesville, Md, added, " They were able to satisfy the audience with varied musical interests."
During the show, Burns also expressed her feelings for the service members.
"I want to wish you all happy holidays from the bottom of my heart. We are so grateful that you are here securing our borders and keeping America safe. Stay safe," she said.