USAFE Airmen tuning American impression overseas

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Damon Kasberg
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
How does U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa speak to more than a quarter of the world's population, without saying a word?

They do it one note at a time, using the USAFE Band.

"We speak the international language of music," said Staff Sgt. Chantelle Friedman, regional band clarinet player. "It's impossible for one person to speak every language here in Europe and Africa, but with our instruments can get through to people very quickly."

The USAFE Band is made up of 45 members, who travel Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Throughout their travels, many band members have seen the differences their performances make firsthand.

"It hit me that I was an ambassador when I came to this assignment at USAFE and we started our first missions in different countries," Friedman said. "One of the first places I realized our impact was when I went to Serbia and we played for people that were pretty much standoffish about the U.S. military. I could see throughout the concert they went from crossing their arms and looking very stern to clapping, singing and dancing along. I knew I was making a difference and that's what I'm here to do."

Other Airmen set the tone for people's impression of Americans.

"We go places and represent America to people who've never meet an American," said Master Sgt. Joshua Gates, Clarinet section leader. "We performed in Russia in 2011. For some people, I was the first American they'd ever interacted with. I had the opportunity to shape their feelings about us."

At its peak, the Air Force had four bands stationed throughout Europe. Now there is only one, but the USAFE Band continues to accomplish the Air Force mission with more than 400 shows a year.

Though they may not say a single word, the Airmen of the band say more in the lines they play and it's a message received by all.

For more information about the USAFE Band visit