Maybe it was bound to happen: After 15 years of war, two talented soldiers cross paths and discover a mutual love of music.
That’s exactly what occurred for First Lt. Andrew Yacovone and First Lt. Justin Wright, Army rangers writing and producing country songs on deployment in Afghanistan.
The pair met on their first day of infantry basic training for officers in 2014.
Andrew described the moment -- a bunch of soldiers standing around after an exhausting day of training.
“I called out to the crowd and asked if anyone played guitar,” Andrew said. "Lo and behold, Justin was standing right next to me and he was like, 'Heck yeah, I play guitar!'"
The new friends “jammed” all night.
Shortly after that meeting, they debuted their first YouTube hit, “Hometown Hero,” from Afghanistan. A full-length EP produced from a studio followed.
Now, this Memorial Day weekend, Interstate 10, as the pair are now known, has released its latest music video, “I’m Gonna Miss You,” which is dedicated to military families of fallen servicemen.
Andrew began writing the song back in 2013 before the two even met, but after their unit lost soldiers during their first deployment, they say the song took on a whole new meaning.
Despite being stationed 40 miles away at different bases for their second deployment, they were determined to finish the song.
“We’re like, 'Dang it, we aren’t going to be together for this deployment,'” Andrew said. “But we have Skype and ways to connect.”
The pair even managed to shoot pieces of the music video in Afghanistan.
“If you could see what was behind the camera, it was interesting,” Andrew said. “Taped things over here, headlamps sitting around bunkers to light the scene using our flashlights. Just to make it all right.”
But they say they never lack inspiration to keep producing music.
“Most of our music is written on deployment," Justin said. "You think of the restaurant where you want to eat at, and you think of where you’ll take a girlfriend on a date -- what beaches you will go to, which mountain you are going to climb. You think of all these clear pictures of a dream life that most people don’t live, but you know you’re going to because you can do anything after you've been to Afghanistan for nine months."
This Memorial Day, the pair encourages Americans to enjoy the weekend and celebrate the individuals who sacrificed for the country.
They would also probably encourage everyone to sing along to “I’m Gonna Miss You.”
Andrew and Justin will reunite at Bagram Airfield in the next few weeks to complete their deployment together.