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Jessica Sierra poses with several Marines from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 July 6 at Al Asad, Iraq. Sierra was a finalist on American Idol and toured Iraq for 10 days to show her support for deployed service members. During her visit to the squadron she posed for photos with Marines and learned about the squadron's job in Iraq. HMLA-269 operates under Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

'Gunrunners' meet an American Idol during their deployment at Al Asad

10 Jul 2006 | Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

With the temperatures topping out near 110 degrees, the 'Gunrunners' received a special visit from an American Idol finalist who wanted to show her support to service members by seeing them in Iraq first hand.

Jessica Sierra, American Idol finalist, stopped to hang out with the Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, during her 10-day tour of Iraq.

Sierra, a 20-year-old native of Miami, met with the Marines for nearly two hours, taking time to sign autographs and pose for pictures with the Marines.

"I came out here to show my support to our military and the great things they are doing for the Iraqi people," said Sierra. "I have two uncles who were in the service, so patriotism runs through the family."

Although in a combat zone, Sierra was very open and carefree with the Marines as she laughed and joked while she learned about the UH-1N Huey and the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters and the overall mission of the squadron.

According to Capt. Ryan T. Roche, UH-1N Huey pilot, HMLA-269, it meant a lot to the Marines that an individual like Sierra and the members of the band OSB took time out of their lives to come here to the front lines and help do their part to raise morale and bring smiles to the troops.

Later in the day, Sierra and OSB held a meet and greet and gave a show-stopping performance from the stage of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation building.

"This is a great opportunity for us," said Sierra. "This is an honor and I thank you all for what you're doing."

After their performance, Sierra and OSB returned to the United States wrapping up her 10-day tour of Iraq.

"I know today was a day that our Marines will never forget," said Roche.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing