April 19, 2012

Country Thunder, Hear My Cry: Station SMP supports music festival

Cpl. Shelby Shields
Desert Warrior Saff
Photo by Cpl. Shelby Shields
Country music legend Alan Jackson wraps up the 2012 Country Thunder USA in Florence, Ariz. April 15 as the fourth and final headline performance. Other big artists like Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich and Blake Shelton also made appearances throughout the weekend.

Eight Marines with the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Single Marine Program served as volunteer security for the 2012 Country Thunder USA in Florence, Ariz., April 12-15.

Country Thunder is one of the largest and most anticipated country music festivals to come through Arizona. Country Thunder also hosts an annual show in Twin Lakes, Wis.

Although Country Thunder is no stranger to Arizona, this is the first time the MCAS Yuma SMP has taken part and volunteered for the event.

“I had a really great time meeting a lot of the artists,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremy Pittman, a Marine with the SMP who attended Country Thunder. “I hope we get a chance to go back next year.”

More than 75,000 country music fans came out to enjoy the 2012 Country Thunder USA in Florence, Ariz. April 12-15. The four day concert featured 24 different country music artists including headliners Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Blake Shelton and Alan Jackson.

With big-name headliners like Big & Rich, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton and Alan Jackson appearing on stage, the Marines provided additional support in security and crowd control. They also provided assistance escorting raffle winners to the “Poser Decks”, two balcony-like structures placed on either side of the stage, giving concert goers a back stage view of the show.

“My job was to ensure whoever was on backstage had the appropriate pass to be back there. I loved having the authority.” Pittman

Despite working during the trip, Marines were still able to enjoy themselves and meet plenty of new people.

“It was hard work but it was fun too, we made a lot of new friends, met some celebrities and created some amazing contacts for the future, “Pittman added.

Members from the Country Thunder staff and stage crew shook hands and thanked the Marines for their help throughout the weekend as the final performance wrapped up Sunday night.

“There are a lot of perks that come from being a Marine and this is one of them. We were the celebrities this weekend, “said Pittman.

For more information on upcoming SMP events contact your unit SMP representative or SMP coordinator Jude Wood at 928-269-6556.

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