Tag Archives: Nell Bryden

Dispatch from Ali Base, Iraq

Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff sends us more news of life and events at Ali Base, Iraq.

This past week has been a busy one for Airmen of the 407th Air Expeditionary Group at Ali Base, Iraq. On April 23, four original members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen accompanied Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central Commander, and Lt. Gen. (ret.) Russell C. Davis, president of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. They received a mission briefing and paid their respects to the Airmen’s Memorial in the Bedrock community of the base. Afterward, group members attended an Airmen’s Call where they met and asked questions of the distinguished visitors, and had their pictures taken.
“We are impressed with your national service, your contributions and the pride we have in your accomplishments because we know that you are the leaders of today who will lead the leaders of tomorrow,” said Maj. (ret.) George Boyd, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. “And I thank you from the folks back home because they love you. They support you and are dedicated to your service.”

April 29 was another big day for the 407th AEG as it underwent a change-of-command. Col. Glen A. Apgar took command of the group from Col. Mark Ware.  Stormy weather moved the planned outdoor ceremony to the Big Top. Despite the last-minute change, everything went off as planned. Colonel Apgar expressed his pride in becoming the new commander of the 407th. “There is nothing

Brig. Gen. Brian T. Bishop, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presents the 407th AEG guidon to Col. Glen Apgar.
Brig. Gen. Brian T. Bishop, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presents the 407th AEG guidon to Col. Glen Apgar.

more humbling than the honor and privilege to lead these great American heroes in this combat zone.”

The USAFCENT Combined Air and Space Operations Center Public Affairs Office produces a weekly product titled “AOR Week in Photos.”  This week, the 407th AEG Public Affairs Office photographer had three photographs selected for display.  They were photos of the Tuskegee Airmen visiting the Airmen’s Memorial, an Ali Base firefighter conducting training and Airman 1st Class Daniel Roberts singing with musician Nell Bryden.

For more on these stories, including additional photos, click below

Original Tuskegee Airmen, General North visit Ali Base
407th AEG changes hands in ceremony

Guest posts from our deployed Airmen

If you’ve been following us on Air Force Live for a while, you know that we often have guest bloggers share stories. These stories come from our Airmen who are out in the field, fulfilling their duties. It’s one thing to administer and maintain the blog–it’s another to provide an outlet to hear from our Airmen. From my perspective, allowing others to give us a glimpse into the life of an Airman is the most important part of this blog. As we say, every Airman is a communicator and we’re proud to provide this outlet.

Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff, who worked in our AFPAA (Air Force Public Affairs Agency) office prior to deploying earlier this year, sent a couple of stories recently to give us a taste of life at Ali Base, Iraq.  MSgt Petcoff is currently a Superintendent at the 407th Air Expeditionary Group located at Ali Base, Iraq.

Singer Nell Bryden visits Ali Base, fire dawg helps with vocals
By Master Sgt. Russell P. Petcoff

Amn. Daniel O. Roberts, firefighter with the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, sings Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone" with Nell Bryden April 20 here. Bryden and her band performed for Ali Base Airmen during her second tour in Iraq since October 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky)
Amn. Daniel O. Roberts, firefighter with the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, sings Lynyrd Skynyrd

ALI BASE, Iraq – A change in plans for singer Nell Bryden and her band meant she visited 407th Air Expeditionary Group Airmen at Ali Base, Iraq, April 19 and 20. She performed a concert April 20 for Airmen.

The reason for her second tour in Iraq since October 2008 is music.  “It’s not about whether you are for the war or against the war,” Bryden writes on her Website. “It’s about bringing music to people that are far away from home. With music, there’s no choosing sides.”  Her first tour resulted in a live recording titled “Live from Iraq.”

According to her Website, “Bryden has blended blues, country, modern-Dixie and jazz into a songwriting style uniquely her own.”

While on Ali Base, Bryden and her band toured the control tower and fire department, and met Airmen in the “Hot Spot” community center.  Later on the evening of April 19, Bryden and her band experienced a bonfire with 407th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department “fire dawgs” and held an impromptu jam session.

The energetic show featured her own work and covers from Eric Burden and the Animals, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Elvis Presley.  She encouraged Amn. Daniel O. Roberts, one of the fire dawgs she met last night, to come up on stage to help her sing a song.  Generally, when a performer mentions a Lynyrd Skynyrd song there usually follows calls for “Freebird.”  However, Bryden instead performed “Tuesday’s Gone.”  Airman Roberts, who is deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., surprised the audience with his impassioned singing.

After the show, Bryden and members of her band signed autographs and took photos with the Airmen. Each of them also received a 407th AEG coin from Col. Mark Ware, commander. Bryden also received a chief’s coin from Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Delebreau, group superintendent.

Below are a couple more stories about Ali Base:

A day in the life at Ali Base


Easter Sunrise Service