Kadena Airman Shines During Tops in Blue
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- As the premiere U.S. Air Force entertainment group, Tops in Blue, performs for servicemembers stationed around the world, they bring music, dance and just good old American spirit, but for this trip to Kadena, they brought something a little extra.
The group brought home one of Kadena's very own, Airman 1st Class Wynton Warren, who worked as a cyber systems operations journeyman with the 18th Communication Squadron for two years before becoming a Tops in Blue cast member.
Warren and his cast mates put on three shows at Kadena, Nov. 16 - 18 at the Keystone Theater.
"Landing at the terminal it was like flying into home," said Warren, an alto saxophone player with Tops in Blue.
"I really missed this place," he said, as he continued to explain how many things brought back memories like seeing familiar things or turning down certain roads.
Most artists never really know their crowds, but for Warren being at his home away from home this show means a little more as a musician.
"It's a little different playing here," Warren said. "When I was in the desert, a few of my friends were deployed there so I had people I knew in the audience, and I knew their lives. So it becomes more personal and more emotional for me, to be able to put a smile on their face."
When Warren was younger, he said listening to his mother play the saxophone around the house is what inspired him to play music. At age 9, when it was time to try out for band, his mother urged him to try out to be a sax player, and since then he said he has "loved every moment of it""
As life progressed, Warren came to a crossroad, college or the military.
"When I was in high school, I was either going to go to college or join the military," Warren explained. "The three things I really wanted though, was to go to college, travel the world and play the saxophone."
Warren's father, who serves in the U.S. Army, told him the Air Force could give the chance to do all three. Warren's choice suddenly became very easy.
Though Warren wasn't selected for the Air Force Band, he showed dedication to his mission in the 18th CS.
"I only worked with Airman Warren for two months before he left, but I realized the potential he showed on tasks and projects he's assigned," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Riggs, 18th CS Non-Commissioned Officer in-charge of client health. "His work ethic is relentless, he did not settle for mediocrity. The mission came first as he spent many long hours ensuring attention to detail."
Last year a door opened up for Warren to play the saxophone while staying on active duty, that opportunity was Tops in Blue.
"The best part of Tops in Blue is that we get to do what we love, be it singing, dancing or playing our instruments," Warren said. "That is what really drove it home for me to try out, the ability to play on stage."
This chance wasn't just given to Warren. Not only has he practiced playing the saxophone for 11 years, he also had to try out and compete against Airmen from around the Air Force for a coveted spot in Tops in Blue.
All that work, time and dedication paid off. The show ended as a success, and Warren's friends and fellow service members said they enjoyed the production.
"It was absolutely exciting to see him play," Riggs said. "He is making the team proud."
With the tour ending in February, Warren will return to his career field, but said he will always have the memories of performing all around the world to the sounds of applause and cheers.