Sunday, August 19, 2007

Soldier Gets to Play With Hobby on and Off Clock

6 Aug 07
By Sgt. Joshua R. Ford
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs Office

FORWARD OPERATING BASE PALIWODA, Iraq - When Soldiers deploy, so do their hobbies. Flying toy helicopters and acoustic guitars are just some of the things Soldiers see others fiddling with on their off time.

When Spc. David Colclasure, multi-systems operator with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, decided to bring his hobby, it included a $10,000 insurance plan for the amount of equipment that would come to Iraq with him.

Colclaure, a Marrion, Ill., native, said when he is not trying to solve communication problems on Forward Operating Base Paliwoda he is fusing different beats to songs or creating his own music.

Sitting behind more than $5,000 worth of mixers and computers is where Colclasure spends his off time. He was a disc jockey in the U.S. and has continued to DJ for the Soldiers in his unit. At every USO show or unit event, a Soldier can see Colclasure mixing away behind his equipment.

“It started when I was a kid going to dances,” said Colclasure. “I was interested in how it worked so I started learning more about it.” After school he would go home and play music, constantly looking for different beats and rhythms to work with.

Over the years his system grew bigger until one day his father gave Colclasure his old stereo equipment that Colclasure had been asking for. Once Colclasure had his father’s old equipment, he started performing at parties. Now he is in charge of all sound entertainment for USO and ceremony events for his unit.

“We have the system that the Army uses, and every time we would do a ceremony it kept messing up,” he said. “So the commander and command sergeant major got with my signal officer and told him to get a new system. My officer came to me and said we will buy whatever you think is best, so we bought some of the same stuff I use.”

“Right now I have a 22 inch rack, 60 different types of lights, two big band speakers, and two 22 inch subwoofers,” said Colclasure.

“Sometimes it seems like we are at an actual show because of the way (Colclasure) tunes people in and out,” said Scott Artal, communications specialist, 3rd Combined Troops Battalion.

Colclasure wants to continue being a DJ because he enjoys entertaining people. “Back home I (DJ) for the kids. I’ll play the chicken dance song and musical chairs, the kids usually like. That’s the fun part,” said Colclasure.

“Music has always been a motivator for people. That is how you set moods. If you are playing sad music people will remember sad moments. If you are playing love music you are thinking about your first girlfriend or your wife. If you are in a bad mood and you start playing some up beat music people will usually get in a better mood,” said Colclasure.

Photo - Spc. David Colclasure, multi-systems operator, 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, sits behind his disc jockey equipment during a USO show July 29 at Forward Operating Base Paliwoda, near Balad, Iraq. Photo by Spc. Joshua Ford.

Hat tip: Asymmetric Military.

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