Each day there was a scheduled show, the band would sit down for an hour or two and sign autographs. We were told that Special Forces and Private Military Contractors would take over security of the base for the time during the concert so that every soldier on station would have an opportunity to attend the concert and meet the band. Some nights, it showed. This particular night, every troop at the base was there, and almost all of them lined up to meet the band after. It was a long night, but the amount of laughter, tears, hugs, friendships, and storytelling made it worth every second for all of us. Even I got asked for a few John Handcocks. Every troop, wether serious and bulky, short and stocky, or tall and skinny, had an air of excitement about them. They don't get this often. It's a piece of home coming to them.
Soldiers who didn't have the typical items to be signed would have the band sign things like the bill of their cover (Hat), guitars, point and shoot cameras, money both American and Iraqi, water bottles... whatever they could muster up. One of the Marine "Combat Camera" correspondants for the Department of Defense's internal news network chatted me up for a solid hour about cinematography and tips/tricks for the 3CCD camera they use, and shared some incredible stories. Amanda if you ever see this, hope you're alive and well!
Even if the band was sweatingly exhausted after their incredibly long set, this was everyone's favorite part.
This is one image in a photographic documentary series. Please view the album here: http://www.hitrecord.org/albums/272859