Sinbad surprised the 2014 Tops In Blue team with a visit to give them words of encouragement and advice for their upcoming tour. Sinbad was a former Air Force Talent Contest winner and Tops In Blue selectee. (Courtesy photo)
Tops in Blue, the Air Force’s traveling musical performance troupe, will kick off this year’s 85-show tour May 17 — and earlier this month, got encouragement and advice from a surprise visitor.
Famed comedian and Tops in Blue alum Sinbad met with the group’s current members April 2 at a San Antonio hotel. After greeting the Tops in Blue members, according to an April 9 release, Sinbad launched into an impromptu, hour-long routine.
“Tops in Blue changed my life,” Sinbad said. “I became a comedian because of Tops in Blue. As crazy as it was [for me] in the Air Force, I appreciate the Air Force for allowing me to learn on their dime.”
Tops in Blue members expressed their appreciation for the visit from Sinbad, who was born David Adkins.
“I was really excited when Sinbad walked through the door,” 2nd Lt. Alicia Wallace said. “We thought we were there for a meeting. I had always heard he was an incredible entertainer, so it was a pleasant surprise from the hard work we were doing on Lackland.”
“He was hilarious,” Staff Sgt. Marc Hightower said. “I enjoyed learning about his history, where he came from, and the avenues he took to be successful. The most important thing I learned was to never quit. That’s something I can apply to anything I’m doing.”
Tops in Blue, now in its 61st year, tours Air Force installations around the world performing for airmen and their families. This year’s 85-show, 76-location tour is scaled back from the 125-show, 112-location tour it put on in 2012. Tops in Blue’s 60th anniversary tour was canceled last year due to sequestration, but the group returned for a short holiday tour at the end of the year.
In July, its tour will take it through Japan, South Korea and Guam, among other locations. Its first show of the year will be at the San Antonio Armed Forces Salute River Parade on May 17.
The program is primarily funded through nonappropriated funds generated from morale, welfare and recreation activities.
The dates so far announced on Tops in Blue’s Facebook page follow:
17 May — San Antonio Armed Forces Salute River Parade
21 May — Sneak Preview, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland
26 May — Dyess AFB, Texas
29 May — Goodfellow AFB, Texas
31 May — Holloman AFB, N.M.
03 June — Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
06 June — Luke AFB, Ariz.
08 June — Edwards AFB, Calif.
13 June — Hill AFB, Utah
15 June — Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
18 June — Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
21 June — Fairchild AFB, Wash.
23 June — Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
27 June — Minot AFB, N.D.
29 June — Grand Forks AFB, S.D.
02 July — Ellsworth AFB, S.D.
04 July — F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.
11 July — Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
14 July — Clear AS, Alaska
16 & 17 July — Eielson AFB, Alaska
21 & 22 July — Yokota AB, Japan
24 July — Misawa AB, Japan
27, 28 & 29 July — Kadena AB, Japan
31 July — Kunsan AB, Korea
02 & 03 Aug. — Osan AB, Korea
06 Aug. — Naval Base Guam-Andersen, Guam
15 & 16 Aug. — Joint Base Elmendorf-Richarson, Alaska
19 Aug. — Buckley AFB, Colo.
21 & 22 Aug. — Air Force Academy, Colo.
24 Aug. — Kirtland AFB, N.M.
27 Aug. — Cannon AFB, N.M.
29 Aug. — Sheppard AFB, Texas