“Cadet Summer Training is the largest exercise and leadership development event every year – it is a big deal. The way you truly know that this is a big deal is by the presence of an Army band,” said U.S. Army Cadet Command, Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Antonio Munera.
Close to 50 members from the 100th, 313th, and 208th Army Bands supported Cadet Command and Fort Knox with over 50 ceremonies this summer through tradition and pageantry.
Some of these events include Basic and Advanced Camp graduations, where nearly 10,000 people were in attendance and 30,000 watched online via live stream; change of command and retirement ceremonies; senior and advanced leadership course graduations; and prayer breakfasts.
Just one of those 10,000 people watching the band is Alesis Collins. “I think the band makes the ceremonies more exciting. When they play the Army song and everyone is singing along, it really shows how much the military loves what they do and what they stand for,” said Collins, who attended multiple graduations this summer.
Army bands have been around since 1775 supporting the Army throughout many different missions, but this is the first year at Fort Knox where a full band was present for all the monumental events.
“There’s a lot of tradition and honestly, I don’t think you can do a proper ceremony without the band and to do it a proper ceremony such as these, you need a proper sized marching band,” expressed CW2, Company Commander Robert Slade.
Drum Major and clarinet player, Sgt. 1st Class Billy Eff and Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Moss, who plays the tuba, are both apart of the 100th Army band here at Fort Knox. Although there is no active duty band located here, this group of U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers has supported numerous community and military events throughout the years.
“I think the most rewarding thing this summer, as a reserve band, is that we came on to a post at its most active time and acted as an active duty band,” said Moss. “Most people have low expectations of the reserve, but we could have gone to any active duty installation, done this and been a standout group.”
According to Eff, the support from Cadre throughout the summer was something he was grateful for. “The respect that they [the Cadre] have for us and that they know, we know what we’re doing, creates great morale,” said Eff.
Upholding traditions and adding pageantry to events throughout the summer was something important to Eff. Because of his and other band member’s contribution to the overall success to Cadet Summer Training, Eff, Staff Sgt. Douglass Abercrombie and Sgt. Scott Mills were awarded The Army Achievement Medal.
Moss, 1st Sgt. Matt Labarbera, Spc. Kivin Torres and Spc. Casey Wise received the Cadet Coin of Excellence for their dedication and commitment to the Cadet Summer Training mission.
After the last graduation on Aug 18th, each band member will return home and wait until they are called for their next mission, bringing tradition, support, and pageantry wherever that might be.