Missouri Air Guard Band Sidewinder returns to Saint Louis Friday

  • Published
  • By Bill Phelan
  • Special to the 131st
Sidewinder, the Missouri Air National Guard rock band that became an overnight sensation thanks to a YouTube video, will return home from their overseas deployment on Friday. (Sept 2) 

Band members are scheduled to arrive at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport at 9:40 a.m. after a 45-day deployment to Southwest Asia. Family, friends, and well-wishers are expected to greet the 10-member band outside Concourse A in the lower level of Terminal One.

During their deployment a video of the band's rendition of "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele went viral and was viewed more than one million times. The video's popularity led to invitations for interviews and television appearances from ABC's "Good Morning America," Warner Brothers "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and the Fox News Network's "Fox and Friends." In addition, Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson, of St. Ann, Mo., the lead singer in the video, received a personal invitation from Carson Daly to audition for his hit NBC show "The Voice."

Sidewinder is the rock and roll element of the 35-member 571st Air Force Band, headquartered at Lambert Air National Guard Base-Saint Louis.  Also known as the "Air National Guard Band of the Central States," it is one of 11 regional Air National Guard bands in the nation and is part of the 131st Bomb Wing, headquartered at Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Noster, Mo.

131st Bomb Wing Commander, Col. Gregory Champagne, is understandably proud of the band and the accolades they have received.

"I am very proud of each of the band members and thank them for their service to their nation and to the troops overseas," Champagne said. "They deployed with a mission and accomplished that mission exceptionally."

Lt. Col. Francisco Hamm, director of the U.S. Air Force Entertainment Office in Hollywood and coordinator of Sidewinder's television appearances, said the band's popularity is well-deserved.

"When you watch the video of the band it's not hard to see why they are so popular," Hamm said. "They're a great band and they put a great deal of passion and soul into what they are doing and it's clear that the troops enjoy it. When you see what they bring to the audience, there is a tremendous connection there."

Prior to the current deployment, the band travelled to southwest Asia in 2006.