Inspiring others one note at a time
By Senior Airman Kristina Overton, 51st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 12, 2013
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Tucked away in an office and comfortably wedged between a swivel chair and a dual screen monitor, Tech. Sgt. Robert Carter fulfills his day-to-day responsibilities as the 7th Air Force knowledge operations NCO in charge, primary Mr. Fix-It for personnel to have computer issues resolved.
By day, Carter proudly navigates through the hustle and bustle of knowledge ops, information processing and records management, but every once in awhile he gets to wear a different uniform.
After shedding his camouflage, Carter covertly assumes his role as an artist, and gives back to Osan Air Base through his gift of music.
Carter started playing music at an early age, picking up the drums at 6 years old. Shortly after, he began his journey as a vocalist and pianist. It wasn't until high school that Carter realized music was more than just a hobby, but a lifelong pursuit of passion.
"I wasn't the coolest guy in high school," admitted Carter as he recalled his teenage years. "Urkel had just come out and was kind of nerdy and had glasses; I had glasses, but I found my niche on the music side in choirs."
Toward the end of his senior year, he participated in a big choir recital where he was set to perform an Andrew Weber song called "Any Dream Will Do." He'd practiced and performed the song many times prior to this particular concert. As the crowd silenced and the pianist drew them in with the melodic intro, Carter made his way confidently to the microphone, but immediately forgot the words.
"Instead of just stopping, I admit to the audience in the same melody that I'd forgotten the words, and once it came back to me I just went right into the song," Carter said, laughing at the recollection. "The audience just starts laughing in uproar. At that moment, I knew that was where I was supposed to be. I'm supposed to be on stage, this was it."
In his career, Carter has had the opportunity to compete in more than 25 music competitions, to include touring with Tops in Blue, the Air Force's Expeditionary Entertainment Unit, auditioning for America's Got Talent and performing as the opening act for the country music group, Alabama. With the support of his supervisors and commanders, Carter was given the opportunity to pursue his dreams and continue to perfect his natural gift.
"Music is so important because of the emotional content it carries and the emotions it invokes in people," he said. "I think it's so powerful. Television and movies tap into it all the time. A scary movie isn't as frightening without the sound, but as you turn it up and you hear those strings or as the music escalates, the anticipation builds. "Jaws" is prime example. When you hear that cello, something as simple as two notes can strike fear and suddenly you're waiting for something bad to happen. Then it also has the power to uplift and bring inspiration and joy, and happiness. Music--it's a beautiful thing, it really is."
Since being stationed at Osan, he has done a lot of work with the chapel gospel choir, has sung national anthems, written and produced his own music, and has joined a local band called Those Guys. Carter also hopes to learn how to play the acoustic guitar in the future.
"I'm just grateful to be able to give back," Carter said. "I get to share music with people all over the world; not just that, but to the one percenters, the people who have decided to give up their lives for other people. I consider it an honor and a privilege to perform for my brothers and sisters in arms, because they're worth it."
Carter hopes to encourage others to live their own dreams and find their niche in the things they enjoy.
"In spite of where they are, while they're still in the Air Force or any other service, use your gift to the best of your ability," he said.