Deployed Airmen Sacrifice, Visit Nickelback

BAGRAM AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN — Airmen assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing recently took time from their busy operational schedule to visit the rock group Nickelback.

“It’s really amazing what these men and women are doing,” said logistics officer Maj. William Sonora. “They’re spending their valuable free time for a good cause, and I know that Nickelback really appreciates it.”

Nickelback landed in Afghanistan on Thursday morning to a warm welcome. Volunteers greeted the band's members at the runway with handshakes and pats on the back, and then escorted them to breakfast in the base dining facility.

Airman First Class Kelly Johannsen, a bighearted member of the welcoming committee, said, “We know what a big deal this is for Nickelback, so we wanted them to feel welcome. We thought about rolling out the red carpet we use for VIPs, but we didn’t want to oversell it.”

On Thursday afternoon, Nickelback members sat at a table for a Meet ‘N’ Greet, where Air Force personnel came up one by one to introduce themselves. In the course of an hour, over 300 airmen came by to brighten up the band members’ day.

“We came out here because we wanted to [get some] support [from] our troops,” said Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger. “I’m so happy that we were able to come out here and do this.”

“I loved that I was able to contribute to such a good cause,” said Airman Justin Poole, who attended the Meet ‘N’ Greet. “Even though they’re Canadian, they’re still humans, so they deserve a little humanity. I just hope that in some small way, we made them feel better about themselves.”

A small cadre of volunteers spent the hours after the Meet ‘N’ Greet sweeping up the papers on the ground containing Chad Kroeger’s autographs and hauling them to the base trash facility.

“Honestly, dealing with them was a little tough to endure, but seeing the look on their little faces made it all worth it,” said Johannsen.

Johanssen added, “But I guess they’re going to put together a little concert or something tomorrow, and they asked me if I would be there, and I just can’t do that. That’s just a little too much to ask of me.”