Skip to comments.Vast number of military bands may not be music to Gates's ears
Posted on 08/23/2010 9:09:21 PM PDT by Nachum
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates frequently makes the point that Congress funds Defense Department personnel far more easily than it does State Department employees.
"There are about 6,000 FSOs," or Foreign Service officers, he told an audience in San Francisco this month. He drew laughter when he added that former secretary of state "Condi Rice used to say, 'We have more people in military bands than they have in the Foreign Service.' She was not far wrong."
Well, maybe Gates should take a closer look at those military bands during his campaign to trim defense spending. My interest was triggered by a new field manual for Army bands, released last month, that Steven Aftergood first noted on his Secrecy News Web site.
You may be aware of the Army Band, known as "Pershing's Own" -- based in the Washington area -- which, according to the manual, is authorized to have 250 officers and enlisted men. Then there is the Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, West Point's Military Academy Band, and the Army Field Band, located at nearby Fort Meade, Md. These are known as the Army's "special bands."
But there are also three large Army bands: the Army Training and Doctrine Command Band, at Fort Monroe, Va.; the Army Ground Forces Band, at Fort McPherson, Ga.; and the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, stationed at Heidelberg, Germany.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Don’t cut the bands. But cut the paygrade. If they’re in a band, nothing over E5.
Military bands are essential to parades and many formations. I suspect that cutting military customs and traditions is the hidden goal here, and I fear that we’ll see more of it.
At this rate, in 20 years they’ll melt down the Marine Corps Memorial for some idiotic reason.....besides hate for our military and what it stands for.
"Where am I going to find a hundred guys just like that?"
My basic training company formed a band.
You do that and they will sound like some sicilian funeral
Notice that under Obama and Gates the Defense Department is getting cut while the rest of government grows wildly. Gates says he is saving money which is nonsense. Any money cut by Defense is appropriated to other parts of government to be spent.
This gets spun as though it is some kind of special benefit. It is actually a standard part of any military assignment, as long as you dont get kicked out. It's called the dispensary/hospital, SGLI, Leave, PX and Commissary privileges.
I hate the media.
One of my favorite movies.
What if other government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities, especially entitlements, pursued and received budget cuts as vigorously as those which Defense must endure? Perhaps then, especially with severe cuts to “mandatory spending” entitlements, the Congress might balance the budget with a surplus to spare for repaying the debt, but then only with severe cuts to entitlements and other “mandatory spending.”
No, they will sound like any university band.
It's an American heritage. Before chief Osceola died, he recalled the Army's band could be heard 25 miles ahead of their combat formation heading towards the Everglades.
LOL! Good one!
I’ve never understood military bands... Honestly, does anyone REALLY pay attention to them?
While they are nice, they are also an anachronism. Needing bands is like needing bagpipes playing on advance into battle.
Perhaps they can keep a few around like the U.S.S. Constitution is still commissioned.
Have to remember that 40% of everything the federal government is doing is on borrowed money.
Yea, seems like they could just issue syncronized
I-pods or maybe CD players. Electric bagpipes...
Ive never understood military bands... Honestly, does anyone REALLY pay attention to them?
If you go to DC, try to get tickets to the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps Parade that they do every Friday night during the summer months at the Marine Barracks. Tickets are free and are all taken months in advance. You’ll come away with an understanding of the purpose of music in the military.
We took this photo this summer.
A beginning Foreign Service officer can expect pay in the $45,000-to- $50,000 range. Becoming a member of the military's "special bands" -- which beyond the four Army bands include the Navy Band, the Naval Academy Band, the Air Force Band, its Academy Band and the Marine Band ("The President's Own") -- gets you a ranking of staff sergeant or the equivalent and an annual salary of $51,000 for single people and $58,000 for married ones.
Dishonest to be comparing beginning Foreign Service pay to that of someone meriting the rank of staff sergeant, which is in no way a beginning rank.
Plus, you should see the faces of the men and women living (and working or visiting) in the audience at our State Veterans Home, when a military band shows up for a free concert.
I suspect the same could be said for VA facilties that they also visit for performances.
>>> Vast number of military bands may not be music to Gates’s ears
The number of soldiers in the Army is set by Congress. Within that number the more people they have doing tasks like baking, musician, etc, they have that many fewer available to serve as shooters.
Rumsfield severely cut the number of noncombatant support and service troops, permitting beefing up the combat brigades. Apparently they aren’t done.
If anybody remembers the Grace Commission from the Reagan years, you'll remember they discovered an 800+ aircraft "phantom air force" that made it the third largest air force after the USA and USSR.
These aircraft were illegally leased by federal agencies through phony companies because they were forbidden by law from owning their own aircraft. By law, only a few agencies have aircraft. Aside from the military, there's NASA, FAA, FBI, Border Patrol, US Forest Service, and a couple more. Everybody else flies commercial, or walks.
I'm sure Gates could fund every single military band by yanking just a few Gulfstream G5 leases from people below the level of assistant secretary to the deputy undersecretary of fill-in-the-blank.
Why’d they ever want to stick around any longer than the minimum term then? University bands are music students who get degrees and sometimes additional accolades on their diplomas for distinguished performance. “Graduating” from a military band offers none of this.
Well shoot, then just substitute a boom box for every band and do away with them.
Please don't flame me for the liberals and Nation-leading Gay policy of the Department as I did my military time and live in closet (politically a republican and love the angle of Tea Partiers).
Bring our troops home - from Germany, Japan and Korea. No need to cut anymore of the budget.
I was beginning to think I was the only one whoose first thoughts were as yours. The press made big news out of the closing of the joint forces command and how it was a move to save tax payer dollars. I screamed at the traffic “Bullshirt”.
The military has most occupations found in the civilian sector, even including art curators!
As individual units, the military bands have some of the most highly educated personnel, with a majority of members possessing a college degree and more than half half possessing a graduate degree.
If we must have government subsidized arts funding, the military bands are much preferable to some of the crap out of the NEA!
“There you go again, man.
sendin’ out those negative waves”
Actually, if you manage to get into one of the “special” bands, then SSG is indeed the beginning rank. You also get to skip basic and the Band school. But you have to be a hardcore musician to even get an audition.
I was a musician in the Army, stationed first in the 84th Army Band attached to VII Corps headquarters, and then in the 10th Mountain Division band. As noted elsewhere, the band serves a legitimate purpose as a public face for the military. We did parades for local towns, performed at festivals and state fairs, and did a LOT of ceremonial stuff. Any Brigade-level or higher review got the band, and sometimes even battalion reviews. Change-of-command always gets one at anything above Company-level. We also did medal ceremonies, departure and arrival ceremonies for deployed troops, morale concerts in the field, and performances for locals in any area we were deployed to. Having a band around is a tremendous boost to troop morale. Yes, you can use canned music, but the feel is lost, and it cheapens a ceremony. Without bands, you lose the buglers that play taps at burials, and there are several components to parade ground ceremonies that also use buglers (ask me sometime about doing division reviews at 10th mountain, with an XO who was only 5’4”).
Don’t dismiss the bands as obsolete. The military is very much about tradition, some of it very very old. If the Zer0 is pondering cutting bands, he’s messing with the core of the military.
Oh, and BTW, to the poster that said no rank above E5 in the bands, keep in mind that most musicians in the band have easily the equivalent of at least a BA in music by the time they get sent to their units. Except for the special units (where you have to be symphony-quality already), all military musicians go through a very intense and long Advanced school before being posted (the second longest in the Army, anyway). We all start at E4 (Specialist), as that’s the highest you can get without having to go through PLDC school. Also, the band has a secondary mission. During wartime, the band augments the military police as prisoner-of-war guards.
All the band members, the “special” and otherwise, are required to attend Basic Combat Training (or the equivalent), except the “President’s Own” Marine Band. You are incorrect that all the special bands skip basic. Also, they start at E4 then promoted to E6 after 4 months in the service.
And, most of the musicians have a Bachelors and a Masters, thus starting at E4 is required.
Thank you for your service.
I believe you made my point -- you have to be a hardcore musician to get a chance to join a military band. One doesn't have to be a hardcore foreign service specialist to join the Foreign Service.
Wait a minute, Obama is President. How many Abortions can we pay for if we get rid of Military Bands.