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NEWS | Aug. 9, 2012

Alabama Guard member chosen to entertain troops in international "Soldier’s Show"

By Army Sgt. Maj. James Oakley 167th Theater Sustainment Command

FORT MCCLELLAN, Ala. - As a child in Staten Island, N.Y., Army Lt. Daniel Monplaisir, for the Alabama National Guard's S-1 for the 731st Combat Service Support Battalion, performed in church plays put on by his parents.

"The plays were huge productions," he said. "For Christmas, we'd start practicing and rehearsing in August."

The family moved south to Montgomery when he was nine, but the productions continued.

"We attended Frazier Memorial Church in Montgomery," he said.

At Frazier - one of Montgomery's largest churches - Monplaisir got involved in Puppetry.

"It was Muppet style puppetry and was a lot of fun."

He became very good at it and was invited to become part of an international "Dream Team" that travelled all over to perform for children. He has worked birthday parties and apartment stores with his Puppetry talents.

When choosing a college, he looked for a place that had a good theater program. Right around the corner was Faulkner University. In college, he tapped into the skills developed through years of performing at church and with puppets and majored in live theater; performing many shows at Faulkner.

Monplaisir took an active role in his major at Faulkner and took part in over 100 performances, while at the same time he joined the ROTC program at Auburn University-Montgomery.

"I was a big fan of our military through movies and shows with John Wayne and Bob Hope. I stumbled into a ROTC program almost by mistake. I also do motivational speaking, "he said. "I needed extra college credit and came across a course titled Individual Leadership Study.

"I thought that would be a good thing to help me with my speaking. The course turned out to be sponsored by the AUM ROTC program. I learned more about it and learned about opportunities with the Alabama Army National Guard and thought it would be a great thing," he said. "I was right; it has been great for me."

In fact, it was through the military that he got his first break in show business.

"I was looking at some websites and saw where a Soldier's Show was coming to Fort Benning," he said. "I grew up watching Bob Hope and his tours for servicemen and women and thought it would be a good thing to go see."

He researched armyentertainment.net and found out what the Soldiers Show was about. Its mission is to provide quality entertainment for the soldier by the soldier.

"It's an audition based show for the military and anyone is eligible to try out for it – Regular Army, Guard or Reserve."

If you are chosen for the show you receive orders for one year. Your unit is authorized to release you and when you are finished with your one year tour you return to the unit.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to serve and to give back to your fellow Soldiers," he said.

He got the information he was looking for then went through a competitive tryout. He got the call about making the show and felt like he had made it to the big time.

"Competition was tough," he said. "There are so many talented individuals throughout the military."

In the "Soldier's Show" he sings and dances. He says he is listed as an actor/singer who moves well.

"I'm not actually classified as a dancer," he said. "To be a dancer you have to have years of formal training."

In the "Soldiers Show" he sings and dances. His versatility adds greatly to the show as he sings a country song, Hillbilly Bone, and also a medley of George M. Cohen's patriotic songs from over 70 years ago.

"I love all types of music but to get to sing songs that were not only famous but made a difference in the level of patriotism people felt during periods of war is pretty special."

After receiving his commission, he chose the Adjutant General Officers branch and finished Basic Officers Leadership Course at Fort Jackson, S.C., in 2011.

On the civilian side, he is pursuing an acting career while also serving in the Alabama Army National Guard.

"The greatest thing is that I am doing something I love to do for the people I love the most," he said.

When he finishes his tour of duty he will return to the Alabama Army National Guard and resume his duties with the 731st. No matter the situation, Monplaisir will be sure to make sure it is entertaining.