After the band’s amazing dose of ‘boot camp’, it was time to gear up for the show. Maj. Gen. James M. Milano came out on stage to introduce the band, and say some words for the troopsJim Beam’s own, Fred Noe then came out to thank everyone for coming out, and to introduce the band as wellBig Daddy Kev then stormed the stage to get the crowd hyped up. The crowd was insane by this point!rnShowtime. As you can see… there were a TON of peopleI wasn’t aware that the crowd would be split like this… soldiers one one side, civilians on the other. It definitely made for a sight to seeRichard kept things moving on bassWhile Paul was doing the same on guitarBrit layed down the tempo for everyone behind the drumsBrandon on keysCharlie on vocals/guitarThe soldiers had so much energy, and were VERY apparently LOVING the showAll it took was a slight turn of the camera, and they would all go crazy!rnThis snap of Paul looks crazy with the giant spotlight shining down on himAfter the show, Maj. Gen. Milano presented the band with an amazing plaqueIt reads “Thank you for all you do in your continued support of Soldiers and their families. You are True Patriots!! Fort Jackson, SC, September 11, 2010″That wraps things up from Fort Jackson. Our time on-base was definitely a unique experience, and one I am extremely honored to have experienced with the guys!
After lunch we were taken to a firearms simulator. It housed MANY virtual firing lanes, in which M16 assault rifles were modified with an air system that accurately simulated recoilUsing laser projections, you fire at a screen that simulates an array of different environments. It records all shots, hit or miss. Then you can review all the data after the session to see how accurate you were, shot/kill ratio, etc. It was really interesting, and extremely difficultHere they brought up a funny simulation where turkeys are attacking you. You had to shoot them several times, until they explodeBrandon gunnin’ them downBrit and Richard went prone for more stabiltyPaul taking out some enemiesCharlie doing the sameAfter 3 different environments (including one on Mars), the boys got to use the video simulator… that is shot with live-action video/actors to mimic real-life scenarios that soldiers will encounter in the sand boxrnYou weren’t allowed to shoot anything until there was a threat. Even if someone had a rifle… if they weren’t pointing it at you or someone else you couldn’t shoot. Here Brit is waiting for someone to make a moveThey told us how this simulator, while expensive to build… saves the Army millions of dollars annually in live ammunition. This is the first stop for soldiers in training who may have never held a firearm in their life. This way they get acclimated with the weapons before they ever fire a live roundAfter we wrapped things up in the simulator, Drill Sargeant Ferguson let Richard try on his body armorThen it was back to the bus to get ready for the show. I snapped a group shot of the band with their Drill Sargeants: Ferguson, Crump, and Johnson… all of which were amazing hosts, and answered every question we threw at themThis tour/boot camp was really something special. I couldn’t help but think during our stay… how many people get this sort of tour? It can’t be a lot. The hospitality of the Army, and Fort Jackson to give the band an experience like this is TOP NOTCH.