I was able to catch Benji between flights back to Nashville this afternoon to get a little of the trip scoopage. All in all, he said it was a fantastic experience and that the service men and women treated them like guests. They stayed in townhouses on the base, two to a townhouse, each with their own bedroom, and a large living area in the center with a big TV. Each townhouse had their own front and backyard and "were nicer than my place back home".
He said several times they ate in the Mess Hall and got to visit with the troops and said the food was great, which surprised me. Then during one of their shows, Aubrey got a marriage proposal, called the guy out and dedicated a song to him, to the cat calls and hoots of the crowd. Knowing Aubs, she must have put everything she had into that song 'cause Benji said the guy got total grief from all of the guys sitting around him. If you've ever seen Aubs turn it on, you know what I'm talking about. Aubs "unplugged" is something to see. She is a total crack up and as comfortable onstage as anyone I've ever seen. She will say and do just about anything and she is gorgeous beyond belief. When that girl gets on her war paint and her high heels, look out.
Benji said they rode in a Christmas parade for the kids, signed autographs, went to the local GTMO high school to the music class and visited with the kids about music, how they got started, etc. Sunday they went snorkeling and though they worked hard, the GTMO staff built in some downtime for them as well. I found out that the cell phone deal was more about no reception than a security issue. Ditto the laptops. (Personally, I kind of liked the drama and intrigue my idea added but whatever.) There were one or two "hotspots" around where you could get reception but Benji said he was too worn out to deal with it and just bought a calling card instead, so he could call Andrea. Sooo sweet....I loved that part.
He said the Marines and other service people were just incredibly nice....appreciative of them coming, and they visited with them quite a bit. The Community Activity Director for GTMO has already commented on the picture below on FB thanking Scarletta for making it a weekend to remember. They will be playing a showcase in March for Military "show bookers" and the same guy I mentioned said he looked forward to seeing them there.
What a wild ride. And what a fantastic opportunity to give back to those who keep us safe. Cool deal.
(I'm impressed they all got on that little bitty Navy plane. They'd have had to blind fold me.)