Navy musicians ply trade in the MEAO

Published on LEUT Peter Croce (author), POIS Phil Cullinan (photographer), CPL Chris Moore (photographer)

Topic(s): Royal Australian Navy Band, Operation SLIPPER

Commanding Officer Forces Entertainment LTCOL Ian Robinson with Navy personnel (L-R) LS Robert Flynn, AB Dayne Grindley, PO Raymond Dowler, AB Greg Turner, LEUT Brian O'Kane, LEUT Ben Vandermeer and LEUT Peter Croce.  (photo: POIS Phil Cullinan)
Commanding Officer Forces Entertainment LTCOL Ian Robinson with Navy personnel (L-R) LS Robert Flynn, AB Dayne Grindley, PO Raymond Dowler, AB Greg Turner, LEUT Brian O'Kane, LEUT Ben Vandermeer and LEUT Peter Croce.

Five Navy musicians are back in Australia after providing the back bone of support to the Forces Entertainment Tour of Afghanistan.

The crew provided lighting and sound support to the tour for renowned hip hop act Bliss n Eso, the Bertie Page Clinic and comedians Nick Cody and Doug Chappel.

The 2013 Operation SLIPPER Forces Entertainment concerts were held from 5 to 8 September at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, and Australia’s Afghanistan commitments in Tarin Kot, Kandahar and Kabul.

Able Seaman Dayne Grindley, a Navy band trumpet player, said it was a memorable experience to apply aspects of his trade to a very different setting.

“Sound and lighting is a secondary duty for Navy band members and it was a very different experience and good opportunity to see the tri-Service organisation at work and also to see the pointy end of the ADF on operations,” he said.

“Since I’ve been in the band there’s been five or six trips to assist the Forces Entertainment to and I have been keen to experience it.

“Basically it is the same as if you are setting up for a concert at home but wearing the green uniform is a bit different and you get a few looks when the personnel on the ground see Navy.

“It’s funny the Army soldiers aren’t used to Navy rank slides so they kept calling me Sir!”

AB Grindley said the biggest thing he took away from the trip was seeing Kabul and the coalition effect that includes a number of different nations and languages.

“The concerts were great, TK had the most energy but the outdoor concert at Kandahar on the grass was my favourite.”

Performer Bertie Page heaped praise on the efforts of the Navy band members and the professionalism they applied to a hectic schedule that included four shows in four nights.

“They were just like Spinal Tap it was an 11 out of 10 performance by the Navy guys,” she said.

“As professional musicians in their own right, I’m surprised they held down their rage about not performing,” she joked.

“They are so professional and their sense of musicality and artistic abilities are evident in the polished way in which they applied sound and lighting. It was lovely to work with them.”

Navy musicians

  • LEUT Brian O'Kane
  • PO Raymond Dowler
  • LS Robert Flynn
  • AB Dayne Grindley
  • AB Greg Turner

Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131419.

Bliss n Eso rock the crowded gym of Australian and United States troops at Multi National Base - Tarin Kot.

Bliss n Eso rock the crowded gym of Australian and United States troops at Multi National Base - Tarin Kot.