CAMP MUJUK, Republic of Korea -- The III Marine Expeditionary Force Band performed for the Republic of Korea Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Division Jan. 13 at the division’s headquarters in Pohang, Republic of Korea.
The III MEF Band performs annually for ROK servicemembers, and this year’s event included III MEF’s ceremonial, party and rock bands.
“I was very surprised with (the performance) and appreciated it,” said Maj. Sang-Ho Son, a public affairs officer with the ROKMC 1st Marine Division. “It was not only the sound, but the stage presence as well. I was very impressed.”
The band rehearses extensively to put on high-quality performances its audiences will remember.
“Events like this one aren’t easy,” said Lance Cpl. Michael B. Barnett, a member of the III MEF Band. “It takes months of preparation, but it’s worth it. The way the ROK Marines responded was incredible.”
The III MEF Band performs concerts to foster goodwill and strengthen the relationships between the U.S. and other countries.
“We call it ‘friendship through music,’ ” said Gunnery Sgt. Shannon L. Farquhar, the enlisted conductor for the band. “We do it to broaden our horizons and strengthen our ties.”
Son agrees the concert is part of a bigger picture that includes building friendships.
“It can make the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps relationship better and encourage ROK Marines to do more to improve their relationship with the U.S.,” said Son.
Both the ROK Marines and members of the III MEF Band enjoyed the concert.
“Our Marines enjoyed coming out here and playing for the ROK Marines, and the ROK Marines told us they enjoyed the show,” said Farquhar.
The performance will have an effect on the ROK Marines long after the last note sounded, according to Son.
“It builds our Marines’ morale and gives them the courage to keep moving forward,” said Son.
Following the performance, Maj. Gen. Byung-Hun Jun, commanding general of the ROKMC 1st Marine Division, presented Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael R. Montoya, the bandmaster for the III MEF band, with a plaque of appreciation. Jun also awarded each band member in attendance with a challenge coin as a symbol of his appreciation.
The band eagerly awaits its next trip to a foreign country to continue mastering its mission outside of music.
“One of our main goals is to be foreign ambassadors,” said Barnett. “Performing for and interacting with other countries’ militaries and citizens is an important part of what we do, and I look forward to the next opportunity.”