Music helped me to cope with going TDY temporary duty as crew chief on the KC135 Tanker, filling the distant times I was away from my family. Separation from my family was especially hard while in Alaska and also stationed on Okinawa in the eighties. Music helped me endure and escape. Music allows me a way to let my aggressions out on stage. Still today, I am using music to as a way to connect with people and to battle depression and anxiety.
USAF, 8 Years
During my time in the Army, I utilized music to help make it through the difficult times. Just listening to music would help, but I also played music for the other soldiers. During Desert Storm 1990/1991, I requested permission from the Commander thru the Chaplain to take two guitars to help keep the Soldiers morale up. The Commander said only military equipment was authorized to be sent to Saudi Arabia during the conflict….To me, it was very important to keep the soldiers morale up during this deployment, there was a lot of unknown and a lot of fear for the soldiers. I made the decision to load the guitars. This was very unusual for me, I had always respected my Commanders and followed orders. I knew the power of music during hard times and decided to chance it. As it turned out myself and another soldier ended up playing music for the American soldiers as well as the soldier from our Allied Countries. It made our time there a little easier and helped everyone get through the deployment. Remember Bob Hope! He devoted his life to entertainment/music for the soldiers during deployments.
Again in 2010/2011 Iraqi Freedom, during a deployment to Bagdad, I utilized the power of music to entertain the young soldiers and to keep their spirits up. I provided free guitar lessons to a few soldiers. I found guitars for sale by soldiers from earlier deployments that were scheduled to end their tour of duty. Seems like a lot of soldiers wanted a guitar. There were several other soldiers teaching and learning guitar. For the many soldiers that didn’t play music they always enjoyed hearing a song played and singing along.
Jimmy A. Coburn
US Army Retired, 35 Years
Nov. 1977 – Nov. 2012
Being one of more than three million men and women who served in Vietnam, music was sometimes a much needed release from the isolation, loneliness and occasional terror of combat for most all Vietnam vets. Music served as a lifeline connecting us “back in the world” where families and everything familiar existed. It often was the glue that help most all soldiers together while trying to make sense of the confusing, frightening and difficult situations that were part of everyday life. During my time “in-country”, from September 1968 to September 1969, I was operating of of Da Nang Air Force Base in northern Vietnam as a forward air controller (FAC).
Music was just about everywhere in Vietnam, provided by cassette players, tapes, albums and of course, radio. I even listened to my favorites in the cockpit through headphones while on those occasional non-combat missions. “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” (The Animals), “Purple Haze” (Jimi Hendrix), “Riders On The Storm” (The Doors) and several by Creedence were some of my favorites. They still bring home buried memories that will always be a part of me. Music in many cases played a part in my survival and helped me heal mental wounds. Thank God for the great music of the Sixties.
20th Tactical Air Support Squardon
“First On Target”