Two U.S. Navy Sailors to represent American Talent in British Talent Contest in Afghanistan

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael

Construction Mechanic Constructionman Kevin E. Quarles

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Two Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 are preparing to compete with service members from the U.K. and U.S. in a talent contest on August 31, 2012 for a cash prize and a trophy.  The Task Force (TF) Jag talent show is an all talent encompassing competition being held on the British Camp, Bastion.

Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Laquita S. Brooks, and Construction Mechanic Constructionman Kevin E. Quarles were among six Americans awarded automatic entry in the British talent competition following the August 4th talent contest on Camp Leatherneck which is adjacent to Camp Bastion. 

Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Laquita S. Brooks

The TF Jag talent show will cost audience members a dollar for the show only, or two dollars for the show and barbeque.

The Camp Leatherneck talent contest showcased talents of American service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force as well as civilians employed on the base.

Quarles placed 2nd in the Camp Leatherneck talent contest with “Empty Chair,” a song he wrote and performed on vocals and acoustic guitar.

“It was an awesome opportunity.  I loved it,” exclaimed the Watertown, Tenn. Native.  Quarles’ performance drew cheers from the crowd and praise from the judges for its originality and passion.

120804-N-UH337-048 HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (August 4, 2012) Construction Mechanic Constructionman Kevin E. Quarles, from Watertown, Tenn., assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, performs an original song during a Camp Leatherneck Talent Show in which United States service members and civilians competed against one another while showcasing talents in music, poetry, and dance. The top six were chosen by a panel of judges to compete in a future talent show with the British on the neighboring Camp Bastion. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael / Released)

Brooks, originally from Jacksonville, N.C., placed 3rd on Camp Leatherneck with a performance of her self-penned poem, “Self Will.” Judges gave positive remarks for a strong performance, originality, and her ability to keep the interest of the near 400 audience members.

“It was as if the audience became a blur, and I could only hear myself,” said Brooks who developed a technique of self isolation to combat her nervousness on stage.  “I tell myself, whenever I’m performing, ‘it’s just you.  Relax and do your thing.’”

120804-N-UH337-031 HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (August 4, 2012) Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Laquita S. Brooks, from Jacksonville, N.C., assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, performs an original poem during a Camp Leatherneck Talent Show in which United States service members and civilians competed against one another while showcasing talents in music, poetry, and dance, and the top six were chosen by a panel of judges to compete in a future talent show with the British on the neighboring Camp Bastion. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael / Released)

Of the 16 contestants who participated in the Camp Leatherneck talent show, the top six, as scored by a panel of judges, were invited to compete in the upcoming British talent competition.

Brooks and Quarles are each preparing original material for next week’s performance.

Quarles, 22, has been writing songs for years.  He said that he is likely to polish up one of his existing songs and focus on giving the best performance that he can for the crowd and judges on Camp Bastion.

Writing poetry is something that 29-year old Brooks began doing in middle school.  “The idea is there,” said Brooks of the new poem she will perform in the TF Jag talent show.  Though it is not yet written, Brooks is confident that inspiration will come to her when the time is right.

Homeported in Gulfport, Miss., NMCB-11 is deployed to Afghanistan to conduct general, mobility, survivability engineering operations, defensive operations, Afghan National Army partnering and detachment of units in combined/joint operations area – Afghanistan in order to enable the neutralization of the insurgency and support improved governance and stability operations.

120804-N-UH337-027 HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (August 4, 2012) Troops react to a performance by a fellow service member during a Camp Leatherneck Talent Show in which United States service members and civilians competed against one another while showcasing talents in music, poetry, and dance. The top six were chosen by a panel of judges to compete in a future talent show with the British on the neighboring Camp Bastion (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael / Released)

 

 

120804-N-UH337-007 HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (August 4, 2012) Contestants, judges, and audience members watch a performance during a Camp Leatherneck Talent Show in which United States service members and civilians competed against one another while showcasing talents in music, poetry, and dance. The top six were chosen by a panel of judges to compete in a future talent show with the British on the neighboring Camp Bastion (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael / Released)

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