Sep 03, 2011
By Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison,
131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
SAINT LOUIS, Mo - Sidewinder, the Missouri Air National Guard rock band that became an overnight sensation thanks to a YouTube video, returned home today from their 45-day overseas deployment.
Family, friends, fellow 571st Air Force Band members, and media greeted the 10-member band outside Concourse A in the lower level of Terminal One at Lambert Saint Louis-Airport.
During their deployment a video of the band's rendition of "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele went viral and as of this writing has been viewed over 1.3 million times. The video's popularity led to numerous interviews and satellite television appearances including the nationally syndicated "Entertainment Tonight." Invitations for appearances upon their return include ABC's "Good Morning America," Warner Brothers "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and the Fox News Network's "Fox and Friends." In addition, Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson, of St. Ann, Mo., the lead singer in the video, received a personal invitation from Carson Daly to audition for his hit NBC show "The Voice."
"We're very excited about the attention the viral video received and hope it will illustrate to the public the excellence found in all careers fields of the Air Force and the Air National Guard," said Capt. John Arata, 571st Air Force Band officer in charge and Sidewinder fiddle and keyboard player, "Now we have a unique opportunity to represent Airmen here at home."
"It kind of hit me two days before we came home," said Staff Sgt. Sean Navarro, Sidewinder sound technician, of the band's return to Saint Louis, "This is my first deployment and it was a great experience, better than I could have imagined. The response everywhere we went was amazing and the troops were so glad to hear us."
Sidewinder is the rock and roll element of the 35-member 571st Air Force Band "Air National Guard Band of the Central States" located at the 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard at Lambert-Saint Louis International Airport. Air Force bands are classified as premier and regional bands. The United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C., is the only premier band. Eleven active duty regional bands operate at nine locations in the United States and from four locations overseas. In addition, there are 11 Air National Guard bands at various locations throughout the United States.
"This is the kind of heat I like!" said Staff Sgt. Brian Owens, one of Sidewinder's vocalists, in reference to the 90 degree temperatures in Saint Louis versus the 120+ degrees searing heat of some of the locations they visited in Southwest Asia, "It's great to be home!"
For more information on the 131st Bomb Wing and Sidewinder: