Kilt-Wearing Marine Plays Bagpipes in Iraq
April, 15, 2004
Iraq (AP) -- Amid the clatter of gunfire and explosions that regularly
rock this city, an unexpected sound rises over the front line - bagpipes.
Dressed in Marine fatigues
with his gun at his side, 1st Sgt. Dwayne Farr, 36, blows into his set of
pipes. The plaintive wail is carried by the wind that whips across this
dust-blown, war-torn town.
"Playing on the battlefield
- I never thought that would happen," Farr said.
Farr, an African-American
from Detroit, was inspired to learn when he saw another player who didn't
match the Scotsman stereotype.
"I was at a funeral and I
saw a Marine playing the bagpipes, and I thought, this isn't a big, burly,
redheaded guy with a ponytail and a big stomach. He's a small Hispanic
Marine. I said if he can learn to play the bagpipes, I can learn," he
When he is not on the
front-line, Farr wears a kilt when playing, and some Marines have been
skeptical about a member of one of the toughest fighting forces in the
world donning what looks like a skirt.
But Farr is unfazed. He's
looking for a desert camouflage kilt he can wear in operations like these.
"Kilts are something that
fighting men wore many years ago, and we know that the Marines are
fighting men. So real men wear kilts. And they are pretty comfortable
too," he said.
Among his admittedly
limited repertoire is "taps," the tune traditionally played by the
military when a service member is killed. Farr has played it several times
over the past days in Fallujah.
Marines say the sound of
the bagpipes is a morale booster.
"It's something to hear
besides the rockets and gunfire," said Master Sgt. Rowland Salinas, 42,
from San Antonio, Texas. "It's something that soothes the mind."
Copyright 2004 Associated
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