71st RQS Airman sings way to 'Top'

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittany Barker
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
A special ability or aptitude doesn't come naturally to everyone. 

A Moody Airman's natural gift, however, has led her to be selected to perform with Tops in Blue, the Air Force's touring performance ensemble, for its "Deja Blue" tour this year.
Tech Sgt. Bridgett Johnson, 71st Rescue Squadron HC-130P radio operator, first took an interest in singing at a neighborhood block party when she was 7 years old.

"I wore a red and white striped jumpsuit, and sang my lungs out to Madonna's 'Material Girl,'" Sergeant Johnson said. "From that moment on I was hooked."

Her love and interest in singing only grew after the block party; she later went on to perform in her high school' s choir and the Oklahoma City Choir.

Sergeant Johnson feels most inspired by country music groups. She likes to listen to the harmonies of multiple vocalists as opposed to a solo artist.

"I remember the first time I saw a Tops in Blue performance," Sergeant Johnson said. "I was in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base."

She said the high energy and magic of the show mesmerized her as a young Airman, and she set a goal to become member of the Tops in Blue team before she retired.

After auditioning for the 2000 and 2005 tour, the sergeant finally was accepted as a member of the 2008 tour.

Sergeant Johnson's audition tape was filmed in her living room using an old eight millimeter video camera and a wooden spoon.  She filmed herself dancing and singing into her "wooden" microphone to "Anyways" by Martina McBride and "Dedicated to the One I Love" by the Shirelles.

Her audition tape was just the first step in a strenous process, she said.  The audition process included 10 days of vocal, dance, instrumental, impromptu auditions and a formal interview.

"Approximately 60 contestants were split into groups of 10," Sergeant Johnson said. "It was an exciting yet stressful environment but gave us the opportunity to get to know other Air Force members who share the same passion for music."

The last three days of the audition were "show" days. All contestants performed their specialty at the Bob Hope Theater in front of a large audience.

"I am very excited about traveling the world, giving back to the troops, and sharing my talents," she said. "It's a great way to give deployed members a piece of home while they're away from their families."

While she is eager for the upcoming tour, she expects her year with Tops in Blue to be exciting and hectic. The tour is consists of a 340-day temporary duty with her 34 teammates. Being a part of the team entails stage assembly, hauling gear, and doing her own hair and make-up. 

Sergeant Johnson said there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes that the general public is not aware of.

"I'm looking forward to the first show," Sergeant Johnson said. "The excitement, fear and energy when the lights come on and the audience applauding will give me a sense of real accomplishment." 

This accomplishment is something her co-workers are honored to share with her, said Lt. Col. Joseph Pace, 71st RQS director of operations. 

"The entire 71st RQS is extremely proud of Sergeant Johnson," Colonel Pace said. "Considering the scope and level of competition Air Force-wide, it is quite an honor." 

Sergeant Johnson said she credits her accomplishments to this unwavering support.

"I couldn't have achieved this without the support of my family and friends," she said. "I am also thrilled my unit is allowing me to participate in this life- changing experience."