22 January 2005

CAMP TAJI, Iraq -- It isn’t money or fame that brings them together, nor is it the lure of big lights and raucous parties. On the front lines of a combat zone, 20 miles north of the Iraqi capital, seven Soldiers have come together for one reason alone -- to make rock and roll.

Since their first performance at a Soldiers’ recreational facility in September 2004, the seven-member band, Last Ditch Effort, have gone from humble beginnings to the rock and roll force they are today.

It’s the last day of 2004. The U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division’s Aviation Brigade, the 4th Brigade Combat Team, are holding one last party to say goodbye to the year. As headliners for the evening, Last Ditch Effort is tuning its instruments and getting its gear together. Curtis Hoehn, the bass player, starts laying down a rhythmic blues groove. The thump-de-thump-de-thump-de-thumpity-thump of the bass line stops the crowd in its tracks, heads start bobbing in time, bodies start catching the groove. Chief Warrant Officer Chad Griffin picks up his guitar and begins a melodic counter to Hoenh’s driving attack. A year’s worth of deployment blues flow out of Griffin’s Telecaster copy. Each life lost echoed in the gentle bend of a string, the year passed phrased in a slow mournful arpeggio down the neck. The crowd is hooked. Slinking behind his kit, Maj. David Toon picks up the rhythm and follows Hoehn’s lead as they make for a one-two punch on the rhythm section. With a final flourish, the threesome brings the impromptu warm up to an end. The crowd goes nuts cheering them on for one more, but they’ll just have to wait.

It wasn’t always this way. Six months ago if you would have said Last Ditch Effort, very few -- if anyone -- would have known who you were talking about. By Cpl. Benjamin Cossel, 122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment Posted by Hello


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02 October, 2005 15:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I was in the Army Band with that guy in the picture. His name is John Geffert, and I'd love to be able to find my old friend. I got out of the Army in 1997 and have only spoken to him once... he's a hard man to track down. Any idea if he is still over there?

My name is Todd.

17 November, 2006 01:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah there is a contractor there that works for kbr and he is sleeping w/ all these girls over there ile his ife is @ home taking care of there children his name is james shouse he is giving everyone else thee a bad name

28 March, 2008 05:24  

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