U.S. NAVY BANDMASTER SLEEVE DEVICE

There are currently (July 2016) eleven official United States Navy Bands where Sailors who have been promoted to Bandmaster may serve as either Bandmasters or Directors. But like all things in life, that number is subject to change.

In September, 2012, the Navy Band Mid-South dedicated its new headquarters building at Naval Support Activity Mid-South, which had been constructed to help them better coordinate functions related to performing missions in its 12-state area of operations. The HQ was named the Adams Building in honor of Chief Musician Alton Augustus Adams, a native of the Danish West Indies (now known as the U.S. Virgin Islands) who was inducted into the Navy—along with his entire band—by a presidential order of Woodrow Wilson.

Besides becoming one of the first African-Americans to be officially appointed as musicians in the United States Navy, the appointment also made Adams one of the Navy’s first Chief Petty Officers, as well as the first African-American Bandmaster in the Navy. Personally selecting and training his musicians, Adams maintained high standards for his musical ensemble, and was chosen by the Navy for a tour of the east coast of the United States to promote the arts as a grand leveler against the social injustices of the time. During World War II, Adams served at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Adams passed away at the age of 97 in 1987.

What Navy Band Mid-South didn’t realize was that it would have very little time to make the most of its new musical home Just two years later, both it and Navy Band New Orleans were disbanded because of Navy budget cuts. The 122 musicians in the two regional bands were transferred to billets with more sea-intensive duties, with some moving to the remaining nine fleet bands. And while there hasn't been a route for Sailors to become Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Bandmasters for many years, there are now several less positions open for those Sailors who have taken the current Limited Duty Office (LDO) Bandmaster career path.

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