Kentucky Air Guardsman's song recorded by 101st Airborne Band to honor Goldstar families

  • Published
  • By Sgt. Patrick Kirby
  • 40th Public Affairs Detachment

Kentucky Air National Guard flight surgeon, and song writer, Lt. Col. John Stea traveled with select members of the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault Band known separately as the Big 5 to Nashville, Tennessee to record a new song on Oct. 26.

Stea wrote the song titled “Light of a Gold Star” in honor of Military Gold Star Families.

According to, the term "Gold Star" describes a family member who has lost a loved one in military service.

I really had to think a lot about what loss meant to a person.” Stea said “It came to me gradually through a sense of being a physician. I know many people who have experienced losses and [I was] trying to find the right words to describe both the sense of loss and also a sense of peacefulness and hope for the future.”

Despite having the song recorded twice before, it’s never been released nor has a military band ever recorded it.

“Having the [Air Assault] band record the song is the greatest honor of my professional-musical career,” Stea said.

Stea chose the Big 5 band to professionally record the song after being told about them by a colleague who heard Sgt. Katherine Bolcar sing at The Sabalauski Air Assault School. Bolcar serves as a vocalist in the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault band.

“I’ve recorded a lot of tunes before,” Bolcar said. “Nothing like this with such a meaningful subject matter. Most of what I recorded has been for fun. Songs that just aren’t as poignant.”

For Bolcar, this song means leaving a generation with a song that means so much.

“A tune like ‘Light of the Gold Star’, is one of those tunes that's Evergreen,” Bolcar said. “It's always going to mean something to every generation that comes along, very much like ‘America the beautiful’ or even ‘God Bless the USA’. Those are songs that have deep roots in America and deep meaning to soldiers. The subject matter is very close to a lot of people's hearts. It's one of those tunes that kind of does what music does and shines a light in some pretty dark places.”

Brent Hauer, an audio engineering graduate student at Belmont University, is a former 101st Band member who assisted in coordinating the studio space for the band.

“I think it's awesome that gold star families will not only get to hear the song, but they're not just hearing it from random musicians,” said Hauer “It’s musicians that are within that community and understand what it is they're putting out as well. I mean, when Sgt. Bolcar is singing those lyrics, she knows what all that is. It's important to all of them, so I think that's going to come through in the product and I think the people listening to it will pick up on that.

A free digital download of the song will be available as early as mid Dec. A music video will be released through official channels during Gold Star Family events and Survivor Outreach events. People interested in more, can follow the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault Band on Facebook for more updates.