Country Singers Rock the Hangar Bay Aboard USS George H.W. Bush

Story Number: NNS111020-01Release Date: 10/20/2011 5:44:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Greg Wilhelmi, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- Country music supergroup, The Frontmen, performed for Sailors aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Oct. 19 in the ship's hangar bay.

The Frontmen include Richie McDonald, former lead singer of the country band Lonestar; Tim Rushlow, formerly of the band Little Texas; and Larry Stewart of the band Restless Heart. The trio is touring the United States for the first time as a group and decided to stop and play a show for Sailors.

"We're here to lift spirits," said Richie McDonald. "Our job is to come out, let everybody here have a good time and hopefully put a smile on [the Sailors'] faces."

Rushlow agreed: "I've seen the faces of service members light up when I play them a song. I love to bring service members a slice of home."

Before hitting the stage, the country group toured the ship and ate lunch with crew members. They visited the flight deck to watch a barricade drill and stopped by the ship's radio studio. During a visit to the pilot house, the singers addressed the crew on the ship's intercom system. They also toured the ship's combat direction center and carrier air traffic control center.

All three members of The Frontmen have performed for military members around the globe, including other aircraft carriers. For McDonald, this marked his second visit to the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.

"It's astonishing," said McDonald, who embarked during the ship's Friends and Family Day Cruise in May 2010. "I just can't believe that something this large, with all this equipment, can actually float. It's like a city in the sea."

After the sound was checked and the lights were cued, Sailors gathered in the hangar bay to witness the first live musical performance of the deployment.

"I can't think of a cooler place to have a concert than on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean," said Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Chelsea R. Taufaasau.

Sailors sang along to some of their favorite songs, including "Amazed," "The Bluest Eyes in Texas," and "God Blessed Texas," and enjoyed the break from the daily routine of ship life.

"It's great that they came out here for us," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Katie L. Heilmann. "It's a great morale booster that will keep the ship going through the rest of this deployment."

Throughout the day, The Frontmen took advantage of several opportunities to pose for photos, sign autographs, and visit with Sailors.

"I'm from a town where the biggest attraction is a Wal-Mart. This kind of thing doesn't happen where I come from," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Justin R. Cagle. "I had my first guitar signed by some of the most popular country singers ever. I'm beyond excited right now."

The group tries to do shows every year for service members.

"I've got Country Music Awards, Grammy nominations and platinum records hanging on the wall. I'm proud of those things, but they just collect dust," said Rushlow. "This kind of stuff doesn't collect dust. These are memories that last a lifetime."

George H.W. Bush is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on its first operational deployment conducting maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit

Richie McDonald, a member of the country music band The Frontmen, plays guitar for Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush
111019-N-JD217-075 ARABIAN GULF (Oct. 19, 2011) Richie McDonald, a member of the country music band The Frontmen, plays guitar for Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) during a visit to the ship. George H.W. Bush is on its first operational deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility as part of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jessica Echerri/Released)
October 20, 2011
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