Airman tapped for Tops in Blue

USAF: Maj. Chris Burch U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Joseph Hardeman, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems specialist, shows off his vocal abilities at a competition held Jan. 9-16 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Hardeman, who is stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, placed first in the men’s vocal division after singing his rendition of “Set Fire to the Rain” by singer Adele.

By Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal: 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

On Jan. 27, Airman 1st Class Joseph Hardeman, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems specialist, was notified by Lt. Col. Dan Guinan, 27 SOCES commander, that he had been accepted into the esteemed Air Force special unit, Tops in Blue.

TIB is an active duty unit comprised of talented performers selected for their entertainment-based abilities. It is one of the most widely-traveled groups of its kind, comprised of vocalists, musicians, dancers and technicians.

TIB provides quality entertainment to the Air Force family, with priority to Air Force personnel station worldwide at remote and deployed locations. They have toured throughout Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, the Far East, Middle East, Central America, Southwest Asia, Canada, and all 50 of the United States. TIB represents the Air Force to other military member, their families and spectators around the world.

“I was really anxious when I heard that my commander wanted to speak with me,” said Hardeman. “I didn’t want to assume anything about TIB, but in the back of my mind I knew it couldn’t have been about anything else. This entire experience is going to change my life. I don’t know many people that are presented with the opportunity to do what they are passionate about and genuinely love doing!”

This is the second year Hardeman has auditioned for a slot in the well-known Air Force group.

“To be honest, I wasn’t sure I had the confidence to try out a second time,” said Hardeman. “It wasn’t until after I won Cannon Idol this past August that I felt strong enough as a performer to give it another shot.”

Hardeman rendition of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” won him first place in the male vocal division at an Air Force Worldwide Talent Search competition at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Hardeman isn’t the only Air Commando fortunate enough to have been selected into the TIB program. Several other Cannon airmen have toured with TIB in previous years and have offered this new recruit advice and support throughout his audition process.

“Joe is about to embark on a tremendous journey, and I want to congratulate him,” said Staff Sgt. Marc Hightower, 27th Special Operations Component Maintenance Squadron electrical environmental systems and former TIB member. “Soak up the wealth of knowledge you are about to receive and remember that you are doing this for the Armed Forces, both foreign and domestic. Go out there and inspire the world; you will come out a vastly changed person.”

Hardeman will begin his tour with a 60-day training period at Lackland in late March. The TIB training will consist of staging for upcoming shows and will prepare members to be distinguished Air Force ambassadors around the globe.