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RAF MILDENHALL — A former airman and current base exchange employee outlasted more than 200 other DJs to take top honors in a U.K.-wide competition Dec. 9.

Josh Hodge, known as DJ@War, impressed the judges of Calvin Klein’s “Are You The CK One” competition with his 15- minute mix tape of music from artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West and Redman. The Pennsylvania native earned a fully loaded trip to New York City, a one- hour slot on the national radio station Galaxy FM, a pair of turntables, 1,000 pounds (about $2,000), and a studio session in Leeds to record his tracks.

Hodge left the 48th Medical Operations Squadron where he worked as a mental health technician in 2004 to pursue his DJ career.

“It’s almost like a mission, especially when entering competitions like this. You try to get organized and take a strategic approach to doing it,” Hodge said.

Since departing the Air Force, he has become an Urban Music Award (UMA) winner, a U.S. finalist in the DMC World DJ Championships, and won Kiss FM’s Shortee Blitz Power Mix competition last year.

Hodge also has traveled around the world performing for crowds of up to 15,000. He even opened for a 50 Cent and Akon concert in Cyprus last summer.

Before the concert, Hodge recalled Akon not wanting to perform because of a condition flaw in his contract, which was to have cited that he requested blue towels. The rapper was provided white towels.

“He wouldn’t go on stage until they found him blue towels,” he said. “It was crazy.”

In the near future, Hodge plans to tour Asia and will perform once a month at a nightclub in Rome. He also said he’ll continue to perform at Club Innocence’s Elementz every Saturday night in Newmarket.

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