Patriot Voices: Vandenberg's soul

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
Aboard a British vessel, Francis Scott Key's attention was fixated on an American flag awakened by September's morning air in 1814. Inspired by the flag, still flying over Fort McHenry after a night of British bombardment, Mr. Key decided to write a poem about its resilience. More than 100 years later the poem became the National Anthem of the United States of America. 

Just as Francis Scott Key once inspired to tell the American story through poem, the Vandenberg Patriot Voices reciprocate in song. 

"Patriot Voices is an organization composed of active duty members, guardsmen and civilians who serve Vandenberg's general populous as well as the surrounding community by signing at retirements, promotions, ceremonies, sporting events and anywhere the National Anthem can be sung," said Tech. Sgt. Elnora Copeland, a 216th Operations Support Squadron intelligence analyst for the California Air National Guard. "We sing whatever we can to support professionally and musically while representing the Air Force to the best of our ability." 

Even though the group of vocalist is not a formal organization, the group has left its mark upon Vandenberg for many years, impacting the lives their music inspires. 

"For the most part, we have a lot of support, but we would like to have more official support," said Senior Airman Caleb Sutton, a 30th Space Communications Squadron budget assistant. "Everything that we do comes out of our members' time and pockets." 

The group origin began in support of the graduates of the Airman Leadership School. With time and an increase in members, the group opened and welcomed different events and opportunities. 

Currently there are 10 members of the Patriot Voices and a typical event calls for a group of five to six people to perform. The group is seeking people who love being patriotic and have the ability to sing. Since the members are not obligated to sign a contract, unlike honor guardsmen, the group is looking for more members to avoid manning issues for future events. 

Patriot Voices has recently incorporated civilians into their once all-active-duty group. Vandenberg's mission relies on its civilian counterparts to get the job done, and the group feels that they should also include the civilians supporting the Air Force. 

"The most rewarding aspect of being a part of Patriot Voices is the thanks and appreciation we get for doing what we do," said Paula Harris, a 30th Space Communications Squadron security manager. 

Patriot Voices is willing to spend the time to train those who are interested in the group but not quite comfortable singing. The group practices a half an hour before events and plans to schedule more practices throughout the week. 

"The group is a great way to become more comfortable in front of crowds," Airman Sutton said. "Singing the National Anthem in front an audience is like reciting the Airman's Creed or understanding the Air Force's core values, it is important to who we are and why we do what we do." 

For more information about the Patriot Voices or to become a member, please contact Senior Airman Caleb Sutton at (805) 606-6976 or send an email to