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American Idol touched by the Navy.

The thunderous roar of screaming fans, matched the intensity of the strobe lights strategically placed around the stage that seemed to reach the heart of a lone Sailor-a Sailor who wears his uniform proudly-a man most of America knows as Phil Stacey.

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Phil Stacey, flanked by the talented women from American Idol Season 6, calmly looks over the crowd as the American Flag fills the background. In that moment, it is apparent that not only does Stacey enjoy the fame and stardom that seemed destined for him, he holds the U.S. Navy in the highest regard.

"It's been an honor to serve," said Stacey. "I wanted to do my part in the [Navy]. My dad served in the military ... and all my life, I have been proud of him for having served. So, I wanted to do it."

Stacey, who has served on active duty for four years, became an instant American Idol favorite, securing a spot in the final 10. Before American Idol and pre-Navy, Stacey had ambitions of being a country singer and held numerous conversations with record label companies. But it was the horrific terrorist acts that took place Sept. 11, 2001, that drew Stacey to the military.

"Initially, my reason for joining was September 11th," said Stacey. "I felt anyone who could and wanted to support our efforts against terrorism should do their part."

Being a music leader at a Colorado church with a vocal music degree from Lee University, Cleveland, Tenn., Stacey did his part, boosting morale for crews and fellow shipmates throughout the fleet. But, the fun didn't stop there.

"I do plan on going into the reserves. I've already got a couple of things I'm supposed to be doing with the Navy," said Stacey, noting that he is still a Sailor and that his job is not done.

Navy bands, established in the early 1800s, have a rich history from sea chanties on the decks of USS Constitution in 1825 to entertaining the crowds at present-day presidential inaugurations. They have secured a tradition of inspiring patriotism and upholding esprit de corps throughout the fleet. Those same elements are present throughout the ranks of musicians.

"I couldn't be more grateful for the support that my shipmates have given me," said Stacey. "They were just proud of me."

Tyler is a photojournalist assigned to Naval Media Center, Washington, D.C.

Story and photo by MC1 Magrarett Tyler
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Title Annotation:Focus on Service; American Idol Season 6 finalist Phil Stacey
Author:Tyler, Margarett
Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2007
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