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Andersen Airman selected for Tops in Blue

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Angelique Smythe
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
One Andersen Airman's dream came true after receiving a phone call from Tops In Blue in December 2007.

Staff Sgt. Oliver Dagum, 734th Air Mobility Squadron passenger terminal supervisor, was one of 25 Airmen selected to be a part of the 2008 Tops in Blue team.

"I was kind of shocked when notified by the commander," said Sergeant Dagum. "It's a privilege to be a member of the team; this is something I'm very passionate about."

With the passenger terminal already being minimum-manned, Sergeant Dagum said he wasn't planning to audition until his chief mentioned his singing abilities to his superintendent. They approved the permissive temporary duty for the competition. But with the deadline being only five days away, a phone call had to be made to request an extension of the deadline for him.

"That was a big thing; it was good news," he said. 

Sergeant Dagum mailed a recording of his talent on DVD, and was selected as one of 56 candidates accepted into the world-wide competition at Lackland AFB, Texas.

"I definitely learned a lot there; it was definitely worth it," he said. "I've met a lot of the guys over there who used to be members, and they really know their stuff."

Sergeant Dagum participated in a grueling 10-day world-wide competition in which the best vocalists, performers, instrument players and dancers were selected.

"But just because you won the competition didn't necessarily mean you were going into Tops in Blue," he said. "There were a lot of good people there, but it came down to talent and positive attitude. It was so hectic; I was literally living off hamburger helper. After training we would be back one o'clock in the morning, and I'd talk to my wife and eat at the same time."

His family is happy for him, he said. But his wife is half and half.

"She's happy that I'm getting to do something that I've always wanted to do, but she's not really thrilled about us being separated for at least a year."

Sergeant Dagum said he's glad his commander approved him to have this once in a lifetime experience.

In February, the new team will train for two months before going on the road in April. They will learn choreography; endure rigorous 17-hour days of constant dancing; practice their vocals; and learn how to set up and tear down their own stage. 

"They said if we're good enough, it'll take at least five hours to break down and set up the stage," said Sergeant Dagum. "Then we have an hour and a half show. After the show, we'll tear it down and then go inside the bus." 

That's the cycle the Tops in Blue team will go through during their world-wide tour -- practically living inside their bus, he said.

"We'll have time for site-seeing," said Sergeant Dagum. "But it comes down to: Will you be doing your laundry today? Or would you rather go site seeing?  You have to set your prioties."

Tops In Blue is the Air Force's premier entertainment showcase for the entire family. It brings the best in music, dance and comedy -- all performed by men and women in blue who perform 90 minutes of non-stop live entertainment. The unit's goal is to enhance mission productivity for Air Force members and their families, especially those in remote and isolated locations.