ARABIAN SEA --
A Marine, with Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron (VMM) 263 (Reinforced), 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), won first place in a singing competition aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), Dec. 10, 2011.
Lance Cpl. Matt Floyd, an aviation ordnance technician, and Charlotte, N.C. native, signed up for Bataan Idol, a singing competition modeled from the television show “American Idol”, after being coaxed into participating by friends.
“It was a big morale booster,” said Floyd just after the competition. The rest of the evening service members were congratulating him on his victory.
Floyd, currently attached to combat cargo on the Bataan, became interested in playing guitar and singing when he was about nine years old.
“I didn’t really start singing seriously until I was about 14,” said Floyd. “I got into it because it was the only thing I was actually really good at.”
Floyd went on to add that he enjoys performing in front of people.
“I get a little nervous right before I start,” said Floyd. “Right when I get into it, it’s like adrenaline; I get excited when I perform in front of people.”
His singing caught the attention of fellow band mate, Sgt. Michael Foster, a field wireman with the 22nd MEU, and a Sanford, N.C. native. Foster and Floyd started writing songs together and plan to get a band together when the MEU returns to the United States.
“He was playing a cover song, I forget what it was. I came up to him because I wanted to start a band and told him I dug his sound,” said Foster. “We jammed out a couple of times, then we ended up playing four or five days a week for four or five hours at a time. We’ve been doing that for about five months now. We have anywhere from 15 to 20 songs written so far.”
Their band, called Underway, plays a mix of rock and country. The name of the band was influenced by the two meeting and starting the band while on deployment.
During the final round of Bataan Idol, Floyd, accompanied by Foster, played one of their original songs, “Carolina Good Time.”
Foster was excited about Floyd’s participation in the competition.
“I knew he was going to do a good job, he didn’t want to do it at first,” said Foster. “It took a little influence, but he’s glad he did it now.”
The 22nd MEU is currently deployed as part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) as the U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, also providing support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.