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Chapter 14

Band Support

Army Bands are a powerful commander's tool to promote goodwill and good relations to members of a local population. Army Bands entertain soldiers and citizens of the United States, its allies, and host nations in both garrison and battlefield environments as evidenced by participation in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor, and Operation Urgent Fury, as well as task forces Eagle, Falcon, and Andrew. Details on Army Band support are covered in FM 12-50.

"Hours are to be assigned to all the drums and fifes of each regiment, and they are to attend them and practice; nothing is more agreeable and ornamental than good music; every officer, for the credit of his corps, should take care to provide for it."

From Library of Congress: Writings of General George Washington,
June 4, 1777, John C, Fitzpatrick, Editor


Types of Army Band Support
Types of Army Bands




14-1. Army bands are capable of a wide variety of musical support. Bands perform indoors and outdoors in most climatic conditions. See AR 220-90 for regulatory guidance on use of Army bands. A band's committing authority is normally the G1/AG.



14-2. Army bands perform music that is connected to American heritage, military history, unit lineage, and individual honors. Among soldiers, ceremonial music helps build enthusiasm, maintain motivation, and increase devotion to the unit, the Army, and the United States. Army band participation in a ceremony adds dignity, solemnity, tradition, and honor. Music creates an emotional bond that leaders can use to draw a unit closer together, to show honor and devotion to a leader, and to remind them of friends and family back home. Music highlights history and draws attention to sacrifices and hardships as well as victory and heroism.

14-3. Ceremonial music can be tailored to fit the occasion and includes official music (national anthems, honors for visiting dignitaries), marches, patriotic selections, and organizational songs. A band commander is the technical expert on music to be performed and should be consulted as to the appropriateness and feasibility of a particular selection.

14-4. Army bands can be used to enhance ceremonial events and are not limited to reviews, military honor guards and cordons, and funerals.



14-5. Music, with its inherent ability to raise emotions, highlight events past and present, and promote optimism and determination for the future, is the ideal tool for a commander to use in supporting civic events. The Army band supports and participates in public events because the Army belongs to the American people. Common ownership requires that Army resources be used to support events and activities of common interest and benefit. A successful community relations program enhances the community's perception of the Army and fosters an appreciation and spirit of cooperation for the military installation, the soldiers and their families, and civilians who are part of the installation

14-6. Civic events that may be appropriate for Army band participation include parades, holiday and community concerts, sporting events, dedications, cultural events, and ribbon cutting ceremonies.



14-7. Army bands are an important tool for use in recruiting. Bands highlight the Army and support local recruiting activities. Musical selections may be drawn from many styles ranging from patriotic to popular music in a single performance. All Army bands in continental United States (CONUS) are directly charged to support recruiting efforts.



14-8. In addition to the types of support mentioned previously, Army bands may participate in most events not prohibited by AR 360-1 and AR 220-90. These regulations and DODD 5500.7, govern off duty participation in unofficial events.



14-9. Army bands are organized into three distinct types.



14-10. Special bands have no tactical equipment or capability. There are four special bands.

  • The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own).
  • The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
  • The U.S. Army Field Band.
  • The U.S. Military Academy Band
  • 14-11. Special bands provide-

    • Musical support to the Military District of Washington (MDW) and its tenant and supported activities, national U.S. Army recruiting operations and, as directed, by Headquarters, Department of the Army.
    • National and international musical support to strengthen the ties between the Army and the civilian community for the Office, Chief of Public Affairs and, as directed, by Headquarters, Department of the Army.
    • Musical support for the U.S. Military Academy, its tenant and support activities and, as directed, by Headquarters, Department of the Army.



    14-12. General support (GS) bands are assigned to a major command (FORSCOM, TRADOC, and USAREUR) and are so designated by table of organization and equipment (TOE). They provide both CONUS and OCONUS support.

    14-13. CONUS bands provide musical support to select MACOM headquarters, regional and national U.S. Army recruiting operations, and regional musical support to further the parent unit commander's community relations activities.

    14-14. OCONUS or forward deployed bands provide musical support to their parent unit and its subordinate units, and multinational operations, as well as civil military operations (CMO) and community relations activities.

    14-15. GS bands provide support to information operations and should be integrated into public affairs (PA), CMO, and psychological operations (PSYOP) plans. GS bands are capable of providing augmentation for local security forces.



    14-16. Direct support (DS) bands are units that are not a special or GS band, and are assigned to a corps, division, TRADOC branch qualifying schools, or other activity of the U.S. Army, and are normally OPCON to the G1/AG, or equivalent.

    14-17. CONUS based DS bands provide musical support to their parent unit and its subordinate units, local U.S. Army recruiting operations; they also provide local musical support to further the commander's community relations efforts.

    14-18. OCONUS and forward deployed bands provide musical support to their parent unit and its subordinate units, counterpart multinational partners, and local host nations in support of CMO.

    14-19. DS bands provide support to information operations, and should be integrated into PA, CMO, and PSYOPS plans. DS bands assigned to divisions and corps, or forward deployed can provide augmentation of perimeter security for EPW/civilian internee operations or augmentation of local security forces. All other DS bands (TRADOC branch qualifying schools) can provide augmentation for local security forces.

    14-20. Army bands perform music that connects the Army to its heritage. It is a direct line between the soldier of today and the foundations of our country. Army bands provide music to the civilian community, promoting patriotism, interest in the Army, and demonstrating the professionalism of our forces. Details on Army bands are covered in FM 12-50 and AR 220-90.


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