Fans cheered and couples danced while Phil Vassar, country artist and song writer, performed during Operation Gratitude’s free concert at the Pacific Views Event Center on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Sept. 20.
Operation Gratitude and Go Country radio station came together with Vassar to put on a free concert for the Marines, families and civilians of Camp Pendleton.
“[Operation Gratitude] is an awesome organization,” said Vassar. “By the end of the year, they will have sent a million packages.”
Operation Gratitude is a non-profit organization that sends care packages to the U.S. military, their families, Wounded Warriors, veterans and first responders.
“Marines will always be close to my heart,” Vassar said with a grin. “Marines are the first ones to go, and that’s not for the faint of heart.”
After eating barbecue provided by Marine Corps Community Services and new cowboy hats purchased from the vendors outside, Marines and their families began filling in the seats to watch the opening bands.
Brandon Hudson and little sister Savannah began the show by singing the national anthem, followed by several original songs.
After Brandon and Savannah took their bows and thanked the audience, the Miss Willie Brown band encouraged several children to join them on stage.
Once the band and the children dissipated, Brig. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, commanding general of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton/Marine Corps Instillation-West, took the stage to address his marines and introduce Vassar.
The crowd rose to its feet and roared. Vassar, full of energy, grinned ear-to-ear as he took the microphone and greeted the excited fans.
“Getting out on stage is the fun part of the day,” exclaimed Vassar.
He performed several songs before the event was over.
“It’s good that Vassar supports the Marines,” said PFC. Tarryn Oberst, an infantryman with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance. “This is only something I’ve heard of country artists doing.”