Loretta Lynn and Rockin' the Corps

Last updated March 1, 2005




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Back in 1988, I spent Christmas on board the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) in the Mediterranean. At the time, it was the world's largest conventionally powered aircraft carrier. Maybe it still is. The United Service Organizations (USO) was known for providing entertainment to the troops deployed overseas but I never expected so see a show while stationed on the boat. Yes, I know it is really a "ship" but we chose to call it a "boat"...and sometimes things much worse.

Those of us not on duty gathered in the hangar deck, patiently waiting for the concert to begin. I sat closer to the stage than anyone because I was then the detachment "Marine of the Quarter." A band I never heard before started singing. I don't remember their name or anything they sang but I do remember how well they sounded. Even the best Bose speakers can't compare with live music. They sang country music which I don't normally care for but I had no complaints. These people were willing to take time out of their busy schedule, miss part of the holiday season, fly across the ocean, and perform for a few thousand troops. Hell, they could have been singing opera with a kazoo band and I still would have loved it!

Next, a sharp looking Marine dressed in his alphas came out on stage with a banjo. Why he enlisted rather than become a professional musician I'll never know. He played bluegrass, picking at that banjo as well as Yngwie Malmsteen picking a guitar.

Next came the main event. Loretta Lynn came out dressed in a shiny red and white cowboy outfit. I knew very little about Ms. Lynn but I did know that she was to country music as Ozzy Osbourne is to heavy metal. That alone made her worthy of my admiration. She sang several songs then sang one that had an easy to remember chorus that repeated several times. Next, she came out into the audience and stuck the microphone in my face. I sang the chorus while she lit up the hangar bay with her warm, friendly smile. After I finished, she moved on to do the same for a few of the sailors sitting up front.

That day left quite an impression on young Private First Class Saki. The concert was fantastic but what impressed me the most was how people I viewed as being important were willing to sacrifice their time and energy to thank the troops for their efforts.

More than 16 years later (March 1, 2005), I heard how other famous people are showing their support for the troops. I was listening to my favorite Sirius Satellite Radio station, Hair Nation, when I heard mention of a rock concert just for active duty Marines and their families. I wasn't quick enough to write down all the information so I contacted Kim Mulligan, my favorite disc jockey, who passed onto me information she received from

Kiss, Destiny's Child, Godsmack, Jay Mohr, Louis Anderson and Ted Nugent have been confirmed for an April 1 performance at the Camp Pendleton, California. This event is part of "Rockin' the Corps," which is a patriotic celebratory concert for an audience of more than 25,000 Marines and their families. Executive producers Quincy Jones and Joseph E. Robert, Jr. have joined forces with producers Doc McGhee and Spencer Proffer to create this high energy, patriotic celebration for the dedicated men and women of the United States Marine Corps in a show of appreciation.

It's good to know some things haven't changed.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.