For Westbury’s Randell Beck, music always been a part of his life. But it was an extra-special part of his military career.
When he was an officer in the Navy, he used to pass nights on the deck of his ship with fellow troops, many of them SEALs, strumming his guitar and singing whatever tune the group was into at that time. The Texas-born 47-year-old is now using music to memorialize the fallen. He has written and recorded a song titled “31,” honoring the number of U.S. troops (22 of them SEALs, and most of those members of the elite "SEAL Team 6") who died when an Army Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgent forces in Afghanistan on Aug 6.
“Thirty-one pairs of boots lined up, 31 lost today/31 souls in uniform, 31 sacrificed today,” the lyrics read.
While he didn’t know any of the men on board, Beck said the news cut to his core. Beck wasn’t a SEAL, but he cites his service as assistant plans, procurement and requirements officer at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group from 1998-99 as the reason for his closeness.
“I was surrounded by the absolute pinnacle of the best people there are in the Navy,” said Beck, who has lived in Westbury for the last 10 years.
Beck said the song was a community effort, as some of the stanzas were inspired by poetry and vignettes shared with him by friends after he expressed his ideas on Facebook. Once it was written and recorded, those same friends began passing the song along, a reaction Beck said was much stronger than he had expected.
“They really picked it up and ran with it, started sharing it on other pages,” he said.
Beck is still working on putting his new CD, “Texas Style, New York Attitude,” together, but the single “31” is available now on Reverbnation for free.
“I’m happy for it to be a tribute and a help to those families...I don’t think this one of those mass consumption kinds of songs,” he said, smiling. “I’d like it to be heard. I’d like people to appreciate what those guys did, what they’re all about.”
Randell Beck will perform songs, including “31,” at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington on Sept. 9, Vibe Lounge in Rockville Centre on Sept. 22, and Westfield Sunrise Mall on Oct. 14. For more, visit randellbeck.com.