Altus_"Tops in Blue," the US Air Force Expeditionary Entertainment Group, performs nearly 150 shows per year, and on Tuesday night, they will perform at the Altus City Auditorium. They spent an entire day setting the stage, sound, and lights, in preparation for a show that is performed around the world. "Tops in Blue" was formed in 1953 and has toured every state in the US, and most countries of the world.
Staff Sergeant Corey Sims' only job with "Tops in Blue" isn't performing. He's also the lighting technician. Every last performer - whether they are in the band, singers, or dancers - is part of the crew that makes the show happen. "This is actually one of the hardest things I've ever done," said Sims. This group of airmen, who take their talents on the road to show the troops that they care, is what makes it such a unique show.
2008 Tour Director, Captain Courtney Wallace serves as a nurse in the Air Force, and says that being asked to tour with "Tops in Blue" isn't easy. "We want to take the best of what the Air Force has to offer, because our troops deserve that - and our families," she says.
They spent the day setting up 65,000 pounds of equipment, and miles of cables, for Tuesday's show - and, they'll have to pack it all up again to head to the next show on Friday. They say it's worth it, especially when they are able to perform for troops deployed overseas. "We get to bring a piece of home to somebody when they are far away - and you can't pay for that," says Wallace.
The airmen come from varying parts of the service - active duty, reservist, and guardsmen. "It makes for a wonderful compilation of people to do a job like this, because to be a performer you have to have a little ego, but you still have to have a little heart. Being able to bring a smile to somebody, or to pay respect to those who served, or their family members, or to the family members who may have passed on, it's priceless," she says.