Hanscom CGO semifinalist in entertainment competition

AFLCMC CGO

2nd Lt. Josh Tarrant, a program manager in the Fielding Division of the Family of Advanced Beyond Line of Sight Terminals, prepares to play the drums at a recent performance off base. Tarrant won the instrumental category for a drum performance for the Non-Vocal Arts Group in the 2017 Air Force Entertainer of the Year competition. (Courtesy photo)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – An Air Force Life Cycle Management Center company grade officer here won the instrumental category for the 2017 Air Force Entertainer of the Year, but failed to advance as one of three in the competition.

2nd Lt. Josh Tarrant, a program manager in the Fielding Division of the Family of Advanced Beyond Line of Sight Terminals, won the instrumental category for a drum performance submitted via YouTube for the Non-Vocal Arts Group.

“The great thing about our Air Force is the multitude of talent that people bring,” said Tarrant, a self-taught drummer who also won in 2016 while enlisted at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. “The Air Force entertainment staff has done great work to create this outlet for many different talents to be recognized on an installation or even worldwide.”

Contestants submitted videos of their performances in this all-online contest sponsored by the Air Force Services Activity. A panel of three entertainment industry professionals judged each act on technical excellence and showmanship as well as their treatment and interpretation of the material.

Tarrant competed against three others in his group, which included four nonvocal categories: instrumental, musical variety, nonmusical variety and dance.

For his 2017 submission, Tarrant, when learning he was coming to Massachusetts following his September graduation from Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, used the Commonwealth as inspiration.

“When I found out we were getting stationed at Hanscom, I blasted the Dropkick Murphys song, ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston’ for my wife,” he said. “I have family all over New England, so we were ecstatic to the get this assignment and the song was a perfect fit.”

In addition to winning this category twice, as a staff sergeant in 2012, Tarrant was among 35 Airmen selected for Tops in Blue, the Air Force’s expeditionary entertainment unit. The group presented more than 120 shows, but no longer performs.

Tarrant first started playing the drums when he was 15 years old.

“I got a good pair of headphones and would listen and play along to songs that I liked, breaking down each part one section at a time,” he said. “I started playing in bands in high school and never stopped.”

Before commissioning, Tarrant, who first enlisted in 2001, was a master sergeant in the Satellite Systems Operations career field.

The newly minted officer spoke about how grateful he is that the Air Force provides these opportunities.

“Never forget who you are, and the gifts that you bring [to military service],” Tarrant said. “Whether you have talent in sports, music, art, look for opportunities like this to grow in whatever you are passionate about.”