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Airman charms Elvis fans at performance near the King’s former GI quarters

Air Force Staff Sgt. ''Miggs'' Rangel performs at the 17th European Elvis Festival in Bad Nauheim, Germany, on Aug. 18, 2018.

AARON KNOWLES/STARS AND STRIPES

By AARON KNOWLES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 20, 2018

BAD NAUHEIM, Germany — Air Force Staff Sgt. Miguel “Miggs” Rangel thought his rendition of a few Elvis classics might win him a gift card at a recent Wiesbaden base competition.

What the airman didn’t immediately realize was that his winning performance also had earned him a 45-minute set at the 2018 European Elvis Festival in Bad Nauheim, where legions of fans honored “the King” on the anniversary of his death Saturday.

“It is truly amazing how Elvis touched music,” said Rangel, of the 485th Intelligence Squadron at Mainz-Kastel. “So, to play at something like this, it is just humbling and just really exciting as a musician and as a person.”

Presley, who died on Aug. 16, 1977, was stationed from October 1958 to March 1960 as a soldier in Friedberg, where he served with the 3rd Armored Division.

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During part of that time, he lived in nearby Bad Nauheim at the Hotel Villa Grunewald.

The hotel still prides itself on its most famous guest, and rock ’n’ roll fans can book his famous Room 10, which is kept in its original state, complete with his Army uniform.

Many Elvis fans from Germany and other European countries make the annual pilgrimage to Bad Nauheim for the festival, now in its 17th year. Several left floral arrangements, candles and stuffed animals in front of the hotel.

During his 45-minute set at the festival, Rangel performed several of Elvis’ greatest hits, including "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Amazing Grace."

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Rangel has had plenty of experience performing prior to this, including at weddings, college events and a few gigs just for fun.

“Performing is just natural for me,” Rangel said. “It’s not new, but it is always exciting. I always get a little nervous, but once you strike that first chord, all of the nerves just disappear.”

Staff Sgt. Jacob Ragsdale, also assigned to the 485th IS, showed up to support Rangel.

“This is really enjoyable,” Ragsdale said. “He sings all of the time, and at work he is always smiling and just genuinely having a good time.”

Rangel will also be performing at the Wiesbaden post exchange Back-to-School Expo on Aug. 24.

knowles.aaron@stripes.com

Sgt. Elvis Presley, soon to return to civilian life, relaxes during an interview at Friedberg, Germany, in February, 1960.
GUS SCHUETTLER/STARS AND STRIPES

Air Force Staff Sgt. ''Miggs'' Rangel performs at the 17th European Elvis Festival in Bad Nauheim, Germany, on Aug.18, 2018. Rangel won the opportunity to perform by coming in first place in a Wiesbaden base contest.
AARON KNOWLES/STARS AND STRIPES

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