HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Most any day you can find members of the Army Materiel Band either rehearsing, or out on assignment performing. It's what they do as part of the Military Occupational Specialty. For musicians that MOS is 42 Romeo.
"It's a great job. You impact a lot of people. Being a musician is one of those jobs, whether you are an athlete or a musician, you're dong something that you really love to do," says Staff Sergeant Jeremy Baharloui, a native of Melbourne, Florida.
If there's a downside to the job, it's the fact that other soldiers don't always understand what being a band member means.
"The question is always, what do you guys do? Do you just play the entire day, and you just wear the uniform?" says Sgt. Raul Uriarte, who's from Temecula, California. The answer to that question is straightforward. "We're all soldiers first," says Staff Sgt. Baharloui, who backed up his words with performance.
The Sergeant was the winner of the 12-mile ruck march with pack at the recent Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was one of six AMC Band members to successfully go through the mental and physical challenge of the multi-day school.
"It's cool to show people that, you know, we can do more than play our instrument. We can hang with the rest of them," says Specialist Alisha Bailey of San Antonio.
Air Assault School requires more than just hanging in. It isn't easy, says Specialist Adam Walton.
"Two weeks felt like a month, but at the end, at graduation, you can't help but smile on the inside. I did it," Walton said.
Specialist Walton, from Champaign, Illinois, is a percussionist who has his Masters Degree in music, and in fact he's done work on his Doctorate. He's also a soldier who will be taking part in the Army's Best Warrior Competition. The first round will be in the Army Materiel Command, and the next round in the Department of the Army. "I'm going to win. I do everything 100 percent, all the time," says Walton.
He could also say that pretty much all the AMC Band members feel the same about what they do. "I can be a musician, and I can also be a soldier just like any soldier from different units or a different MOS. Whatever task we're given, we can accomplish it," says Sgt. Paul Scherer, who's from Anchorage, Alaska.
You've met five of the six band members who earned the Air Assault Badge. The sixth is Specialist Trent Frizzell, who is on leave back in Yucca Valley, California.