DVIDS – News – Marine shares passion for music with Afghan guests at Fort Pickett


United States Marine Corps Cpl. Miguel Sanchez sits with his guitar in a tent in Fort Pickett, Virginia. Instantly, a group of children rush over and sit in a circle around him. Their excitement fills their faces with visible joy, a signal for Sanchez to start playing. As he strums his guitar, the children watch him in awe.

This is a recurring scene for Sanchez, a 23-year-old from San Diego, Calif., Native and radio operator with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, as he found a different way to connect with Afghans to Fort Pickett; play music for children and families in the afternoon.

“The kids love it,” Sanchez said. “They love to hear it and they’re still a small group. They love to see us up there playing songs for them.

The idea came to him after a week at Fort Pickett, where his unit is currently part of Task Force Pickett, in support of Operation Allies Welcome. The task force’s women’s engagement team asked her to attend movie nights for families. He took this opportunity to play music and engage children with a more interactive form of entertainment.

“They thought it would be great, so we just drove with it,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez did not initially travel with his guitar here so had to contact a group of his friends who had not yet traveled from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to Fort Pickett to bring him with them. For the past month, he has been playing a few sessions a week in addition to his usual duties. Although communicating with some Afghans was a challenge due to the language barrier, he used music as a way to connect with guests.

“Music is a universal language,” he added, “they may not understand the words I sing to them, but they understand the feelings behind them. I hope that one day, when they hear these songs again, they will remember me.

For Sanchez, the mission goes beyond music. Sanchez’s unit is assigned to Task Force Pickett to support Afghans throughout the resettlement process. For him, this mission is bigger than anything he could have imagined when he joined the Marine Corps.

“When I got here I was excited,” he said. “Being part of Operation Allies Welcome and helping all Afghans who come to America become American citizens is history. I sincerely believe that this is one of the most important jobs that I will have to do. ”

Date taken: 20.10.2021
Date posted: 20.10.2021 15:11
Story ID: 407636
Site: FORT PICKETT, Virginia, United States

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