Listen to David’s beautiful rendition of Bring Him Home on Walter Clark’s Facebook, or Mary Lou Sinclair’s Facebook. You must be friends with either ML or Dan Clark on Facebook to view the video due to its privacy settings.
Was this guys security when we came down to the valley an preformed for us troops down here David Archuletta he sure can sing for sure #DavidArchuleta #Deployment #Entertainment
Excerpts from Jason Hewlett’s blog: US Troops Tour – Bagram, Afghanistan, Return to Kuwait, Addis Ababa & Djibouti, Africa
Upon leaving Kuwait on July 15 and our arrival in Afghanistan, following the most sobering flight of my existence and the observance of our military headed into the eye of the storm of war, it was a late night at the Airfield. And then we were whisked away to our living quarters. On the bus we listened to Elissa give us the directives for the trip in orderly fashion. In her matter of fact way she let us know our performances in Kabul and Kandahar were cancelled, following a suicide bomber killing some 80 civilians the day of our arrival only a few miles away, as well as numerous soldiers losing their lives in the past week from roadside bombs. Instead, we would be performing for the Prison employees who never have time to see a show, having to deal with the craziest, meanest people on earth, Taliban prisoner psychos devoted to killing anyone in their path, who don’t fear death nor value life. It would be our job to bring a smile to these soldiers who rarely have a chance to escape the walls of their work. We would then fly out the following morning to FOB Airborne, another base in the foothills of the Taliban’s target practice mountain region, the next day in Jalalabad, and finally a closing performance for the base that is Bagram. We arrive at our housing unit, take a right off of Disney way. hese rooms were so teensy, but much nicer than the tents I thought we’d be hunkering down in. Add to that having a roommate and you have close quarters. Dean Kaelin bunked with me, Dan Clark and David Archuleta in their room. In the evening we perform for the Military Prison workers. What an incredible show! My favorite one so far. They NEVER get their own shows over on this side of the base, or so we are told, and because of Kabul and the incidents there, we have this awesome gig with these guys. Near the end of the show we learn of a young soldier who just welcomed his son to the world today via SKYPE with his wife. A new DAD. His first child is born and he’s over here, serving our Country. Afterward, as we took pictures and told him how awesome he was, tears filled his eyes as he said, “I’ve been a little bummed today to miss being there for my son’s birth, but this show filled me with gratitude that I can be here to protect my family and know I’m in the right place. This is the happiest day of my life!” Such a wonderful guy, person, and now, Dad.
The next day, after a late night in Prison (see what I did there?), we arise early, little sleep, and race off to the airfield to hop on a Chinook. Helmets on, Dean to my right, David and Dan across from us without helmets, we are enjoying the peaceful views of the mountains as we cruise to ARIBORNE FOB. All of a sudden – ENEMY FIRE! The machine guys start firing toward the mountain – RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-RAT-TAT-TAT! Chinook jerks to the right as we drop, more shots fired – RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-RAT-TAT-TAT! Swoops to the left, more shots fired – RAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT. Huge drop like you’ve just reached the top of a rollercoaster and the gut sinking feeling of the descent, we are headed straight down into the mountain! I see David, grabbing for his helmet, everyone in a stunned panic, holding their hands to their ears or grabbing anything they can, the soldier on the back hanging out the opening is sliding along the edge, freakiest and most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced. Once the craziness subsided I was the only one laughing, everyone else looked a bit shell shocked, but I knew that if we went down it would make for the coolest way to die, and so, alive, I had to laugh. VIDEO HERE
The show was swallowed up in the echo of the tent, my words to my parodies muffled and reverbed against the walls, and yet everyone still laughed, clapped, and loved it. They hadn’t had a show in who knows how long. hey didn’t even have a venue for a show but created one for us, building a stage out of metal beams and a giant gym mat that melted as it stuck to our shoes. It was all they had and they gave their all. It was the coolest stage I’ve ever seen built or conceived, so awesome. And they were so proud of it, and should have been. Seated all throughout the hall we gave away our traditional gifts: David Archuleta CD’s, Jason Hewlett DVD’s, Dan Clark’s hats he had made for the tour, and I pulled out some of my items I brought special for a day like this: Baby Wipes, Gum, Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, Mints individually wrapped.
After signing cards, taking pictures, and learning the stories of a few brave, incredible soldiers, including the story of the blonde, beautiful, and constantly smiling Chaplain Assistant White, with her child at home whom she misses so much and is supporting from thousands of miles away, we hopped on the Chinook and flew back to Bagram. This time there was a machine gun on the back of the opening in the copter, rather than just the two on the sides, as they said, “It’s been a busy day firing at our aircraft”. Nice! We made it back without any surprises, and that night did a fireside in the mess hall private room for the 15 members of the LDS branch. Awesome evening and day.
The next morning we woke up extra early once again and hopped aboard a c-130, which is an airplane with web seating along the outer edges of the interior, and luckily Dean and I were invited by Dan to sit in the cockpit, making up for the missed opportunity from Kuwait with Dan and David on the 5 hour flight over.
VIDEO of Take Off and Beautiful Afghanistan Countryside outside the walls of Bagram
Upon arrival in Jalalabad Base we were treated to the best reception of the entire trip. Obviously everyone has been great and welcoming everywhere, but this was so over-the-top, the entire leadership greeted us, took us around, allowed us to look play around in the helicopters, and we had such a fun time with them.
The show was in the Chapel, housing about 12 rows of chairs, the backdrop of the stage a huge American flag, and our sound system team making it hum beautifully, it was a perfect set up for our show. The crowd was awesome, and the show got even tighter than the last time. We continually tweak it, trying new bits, and experimenting on the best choices for the audience demographic, we feel we are making a difference more and more each gig. The audience loved it, expressed their appreciation, and gave us the ceremonial “Coin in the Hand Shake” ceremony as presented by the highest ranking official at the event.
Flying above the Afghan sky, the screaming sound of a chopper overhead, surrounded by bright red webbing and ARMY green walls, buckled safe in my little seat, I looked admiringly at each person there:
And then, of course, the 3 Dudes Who Comprise The Tour –
Dean Kaelin – Without his selflessness to simply play background for David, where he could carry a show on his own and kill, without his expertise in helping David salvage his voice at the age of 13 upon receiving news he had a paralyzed vocal chord, etc etc., we have a very different show. Dean is the musical genius among us and I’m not even worthy to share the stage with his greatness, yet he takes a backseat on this tour as a backup player, I’m just in awe of his humility.
David Archuleta – I’ve said all that can possibly be said about this great young man who is truly one of the great examples I’ve ever been around. His voice is as the angels of heaven, his heart is pure, his obedience rivals Nephi. Amazing ability to craft each song, care for creating a moment for the audience rather than worrying about making it sound good for his own glory, rather hoping they will feel something, and what’s awesome is that they always do.
On the bus, we went from one station/office to the next throughout Bagram, where we performed MINI-SHOWS for anyone in any office that wasn’t going to get to come to the evening show for the whole base due to their shifts going long. First it was the Air Force Pallet Team, the guys and gals who make sure everyone’s gear gets unloaded upon arrival to the base, and wrapped properly and loaded prior to every aircraft leaving. And so their job is serious stuff. And it was our chance to lighten the mood. David sang “Fields of Gold” with Dean on guitar, Dan told a few inspiring stories and funny jokes, I did my faces and the Raptor. 15 minutes. A few pictures. Off to the next place: Maintenance of planes, F-16’s, A-10’s, etc. Show, laughs, amazed by David’s song….and we’re off to the NEXT group!
We went to as many buildings as we could to try and bring some smiles and a break in the monotony of their lives. You could see the appreciation in their faces. Even as all of us could have possibly grown weary of the same bits we were doing, over and over, to those watching it was the first time, and the joy in their faces and reaction was priceless. The hugs, the salutes, the coin hand shake ceremonies, the phone numbers given to us to reach out to their family members and tell them we saw them and they’re alright (Dan’s brilliant idea), the videos we made, the selfies I photo bombed….it was so beautiful.
That night in Bagram we had the best show of the tour. In the “Clam Shell”, a full basketball court and a stand alone stage, although the wind was ripping through the area it was a tight, incredible, spiritual experience. Our last night with our MWR friends, Elissa and Dave, and when the 2 Star General came to the stage to give us the coins, the soldiers all standing and clapping, hands over their hearts, our hands over ours, we all just lost it. What a special night. Indescribable. Another unforgettable night.
We were up late packing, up even earlier to leave.
Blogs from Dean Kaelin’s Facebook:
Photos shared on Dan Clark’s facebook (I’m unable to embed them due to privacy settings):
Excerpts from Dan Clark’s blog:
Update from Afghanistan
I am now in Bagram Afghanistan. We arrived last night. An incredible three hour flight along the Iranian border and over Pakistan. Very cool.
We perform a special show for the guards at the prison tonight. It should be awesome!
Our sleeping quarters are very small. My roommate is David Archuleta with a community hallway bathroom and shower that we share with ten other military leaders.
Tomorrow we fly on a chinook helicopter to a remote FOB.
Dan Clark’s facebook updates:
Check out Walter Clark’s facebook update (unable to embed due to privacy settings).
Tons of meet-and-greet photos at: RC-East flickr (Motivational Theater, July 18, 2014 part 1) ; RC-East flickr (Motivational Theater, July 18, 2014 part 2)
Other buzz: Singers with the Most Powerful Singing Voice: David Archuleta