By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Carmichael, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 Public Affairs
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (NNS) -- Two Sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11 will compete with service members from the U.K. and U.S. in a talent contest, Aug. 31, 2012 being held on the British Camp, Bastion.
Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Laquita S. Brooks, and Construction Mechanic Constructionman Kevin E. Quarles were among six Americans awarded automatic entry in the British talent competition following a talent contest on Camp Leatherneck, Aug. 4.
The Camp Leatherneck talent contest showcased talents of American service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force as well as civilians employed on the base.
Quarles placed 2nd in the Camp Leatherneck talent contest with "Empty Chair," a song he wrote and performed on acoustic guitar.
"It was an awesome opportunity. I loved it," exclaimed the Watertown, Tenn. native. Quarles' performance drew cheers from the crowd and praise from the judges for its originality and passion.
Brooks, originally from Jacksonville, N.C., placed third on Camp Leatherneck with a performance of her self-penned poem, "Self Will." Judges gave positive remarks for a strong performance, originality, and her ability to keep the interest of nearly 400 audience members.
"It was as if the audience became a blur, and I could only hear myself," said Brooks who developed a technique of self isolation to combat her nervousness on stage. "I tell myself, whenever I'm performing, 'it's just you. Relax and do your thing.'"
Of the 16 contestants who participated in the Camp Leatherneck talent show, the top six, as scored by a panel of judges, were invited to compete in the upcoming British talent competition.
Brooks and Quarles are each preparing original material for next week's performance.
Quarles, 22, has been writing songs for years. He said that he is likely to polish up one of his existing songs and focus on giving the best performance that he can for the crowd and judges on Camp Bastion.
Writing poetry is something that 29-year old Brooks began doing in middle school. "The idea is there," said Brooks of the new poem she will perform in the upcoming talent show. Though it is not yet written, Brooks is confident that inspiration will come to her when the time is right.
Homeported in Gulfport, Miss., NMCB-11 is deployed to Afghanistan to conduct general mobility, survivability engineering operations, defensive operations, Afghan National Army partnering and detachment of units in combined/joint operations area - Afghanistan in order to enable the neutralization of the insurgency and support improved governance and stability operations.