As a group of children approached Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Coscia while his Army unit provided security in Qalat, Afghanistan recently, he began singing Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”
“Baby, don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing is gonna be alright,” he sang.
Before he knew it, the kids — smiling and jumping up and down — repeated after him. The kids knew his unit, who supplied them with cases of water, food and candy.
“‘Three Little Birds’ is a great song that I've known for a long time and it always puts me in a good mood,” said Coscia, 30, a Centereach native, who is still deployed there and corresponded with Newsday via email. “They don’t know English, so I sung another verse and they repeated it. I gave it a shot and they sang with me.”
Jennifer Faut, who has known Coscia since middle school, said her friend has a huge heart and deserves the praise he’s getting from those who watch the YouTube video, which was filmed by a fellow soldier and then shared by Coscia on Facebook.
“Joe is missing out on the first year of his daughter Gabriella's life, yet still took a few minutes out of his day to bring smiles to these children's faces who are surrounded by war every day,” said Faut, 30, of Centereach. “Joe has been a great friend to me, and I worry about him being over there every day. This video reminds me that he’s serving a purpose and making a difference.”
The hardest part about serving his third tour in the Middle East is missing holidays with his wife Michelle -- who he married last year -- and his daughter. He hasn’t been there for many of the 8-month-old’s “firsts,” Coscia said.
“It's tough being away missing all the firsts of your first child,” said Coscia, who has been serving in the Army for 11 years and now resides in Killeen, Texas. “You never get those back, but my wife does an outstanding job of recording everything. She knows who I am because when my wife asks ‘Where's Daddy?" She’s able to identify me in a picture.”
Michelle, 30, who grew up in Selden, said her husband was there for their daughter’s birth, but was deployed six weeks later and has missed six months of her life due to deployments. To make her feel as though her father is there with her, Michelle plays pre-recorded videos of him reading children's books to help Gabriella fall asleep each night.
“When Joe showed me the video, I told him, ‘I fell in love with you all over again,’ ” she said. “These are the types of things he does. I wasn’t surprised. There’s a positive side to everything and this is it. It’s nice he’s able to be a good influence on these kids.”
Viewers on mobile devices can watch video at http://bit.ly/19u82lU.