US ARMY ARMY BAND COLLAR DEVICES

Music has been a part of the American military experience since the days of the American Revolution, when fifes and drums were used not only to coordinate the actions of units carrying out complicated maneuvers during battle, but also as a means of sending announcements (time of day, meal times, inspections, etc.) and boosting morale. Bugles were added to the standard drum-and-fife corps during the War of 1812, with bugle calls eventually replacing fife-and drums for sounding various battlefield commands.

Bands played a critical role in buoying the spirits of weary trips in both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. The last third of the 19th century and up until World War I saw a growing interest in martial-themed or inspired music performed by marching bands; it was during this time that instantly recognizable marches such as “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Anchors Aweigh,” and “National Emblem” were composed.

Surprisingly, the United States Army did not have an official band to perform these crowd-pleasing, patriotic songs at ceremonies, parades, and other special events following its first great triumph of the 20th century, the defeat of German and the Central Powers in World War I. This shortcoming did not go unnoticed by General John J. Pershing, a firm believer in the efficacy of rousing music to inspire troops and improve unit morale. Pershing was impressed by the stirring performance rendered by European marching bands he heard perform in the months and years following the 1918 Armistice, and by 1922 was convinced that the United States Army needed a band that would instill pride and patriotism in the hearts of Soldiers and civilians alike. On January 25, 1922, he issued a brief and to-the-point memorandum to Captain Parry Lewis: “You will organize and equip the Army Band.”

Originally based at Fort Hunt near Washington D.C., the band was moved within nine months of Pershing’s order to Fort McNair, closer to the ceremonial sites where it would be performing. When the Age of Radio was in full bloom, the music of Army Band, dubbed “Pershing’s Own,” was being played on stations all across the nation. In 1930 alone, for instance, it was featured in nearly 240 radio broadcasts.

Today, the U.S. Army Band comprises nine ensembles and five chamber groups, performing music from almost every genre imaginable. Its mission is to provide musical support not just for the Army, but for leadership across all branches of the United States government as well as to our country’s Soldiers, their families, and the general public. Its performances are designed to serve as the basis for recruitment effort, instill confidence and boost morale among our warfighters, and generally promote goodwill and our national interests across the globe.

In 2001, an insignia was approved for enlisted members of the Army band. Officers serving in the U.S. Army Band wear the device of the Adjutant General’s Corps.
Rank
Enlisted
Price
$10.99usd
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