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New Addition to Tops in Blue from DLIFLC

Jennifer O'Rourke
314th Training Squadron

Staff Sgt. Lesley Bastura, 314th Training Squadron, Presidio of Monterey, Calif., has earned a coveted spot on the prestigious 35-member Tops in Blue team.

Each year thousands of the Air Force's finest performers submit applications to become members of Tops in Blue. In her position at the Defense Language Institute, Staff Sgt. Bastura serves as a certified Korean Military Language Instructor, having earned her teaching badge in June 2009. She is responsible for the training over 250 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, in Air Education and Training Command's longest, most expensive training pipeline.

In January, she attended the World Wide Talent Search competition for 10 days at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where finalists competed.

On Feb. 16, Staff Sgt. Bastura received official notification that she had made the team. She will depart DLI in March for approximately one year. The first stop will be San Antonio, Texas where she will stay for 45 days for the "staging" of the show. The team will learn all the music and choreography in six weeks. Thereafter, Staff Sgt. Bastura will tour with the team for 10 months, performing in shows as a vocalist and dancer, entertaining troops and their families world-wide.

Each year Tops in Blue performs roughly 150 shows throughout the world, a grueling tour schedule to say the least. This is the 55th year the show has been in production, using new cast members each year they tour. The cast members wear full makeup and costumes at all times and must set up and take down all sets during the tour. The theme for this year's show is "We Believe."

Col. William Bare, 517th Training Group commander is ecstatic over the news. "What a great achievement and opportunity for Lesley," Col. Bare said. "We had Tops in Blue here on the Presidio last year and I was able to see firsthand the level of dedication, effort and of course talent it takes to be a member. It is a tremendous credit to Staff Sgt. Bastura to have competed and been selected. We are very proud of her -- she will be a fantastic Air Force ambassador to audiences around the world," the colonel added.

Staff Sgt. Bastura's co-led the Air Force Marathon team for the 517 TRG 2009, posting the fastest time for the half marathon in the 17th Training Wing. She also serves as vice president for the 314 TRS Booster Club. As an active force on the Presidio of Monterey, her absence will surely be missed, but she will serve as an immense asset to the Tops in Blue Tour 2010, and an inspiration to Airmen worldwide.

DLIFLC 1759 Lewis Rd. Bldg 614, Ste. 251 - Presidio of Monterey - Monterey, CA 93944 (831) 242-7176, (DSN-768)