In the fall of 1949, General Sidney (Rosie) Grubbs
announced that the USAF would develop an all new
marching group, to be called the USAF Drum and Bugle
Corps, stationed at Bolling AFB, Washington, D. C.
Actual formation of the Corps began in October of
that year, and though orders were that the Corps be
a part of the USAF Band Squadron, the Corps was
originally listed as part of the 1100th Air Base
Wing and assigned to the Air Police Squadron. Not
until 1951 did it become affiliated with the United
States Air Force Band.
The first leadership of the Corps included Captain
Herbert Gall, OIC (Officer in Charge), Tech. Sgt.
Jimmy Roland NCOIC (Non-commissioned officer in
charge), and Niles Swanson, soon to be replaced by
Peter DeGenova, first sergeant.
In those early days of 1950, the uniform of the day
was fatigues, with olive green Eisenhower jackets
for dress. Since there were originally no musical
instruments, practice was limited: drummers had
sticks and pads, buglers had mouthpieces, and bag
pipers had chanters. During drill, the corps carried
M-1 rifles. For daily retreat, the Corps, with its
rifles, marched behind the members of the Band
Early routine for the Corps: wakeup at 6:30 a. m. at
Barracks 427; breakfast at Building 20, near the
main gate; morning music rehearsal upstairs in that
same building, and after lunch, drill with rifles.
Shortly thereafter, instructors were assigned.
Robert Moore, from the AF Concert Band became the
first percussion instructor; Jimmy Roland the first
bugle instructor; William Galloway the first bagpipe
instructor; and Gerry England the drum major. In
April of that year, Roland, DeGenova, and Eagland
were sent TDY to Lackland to recruit additional
members for the Corps.
Roger Quirion was in basic training at Lackland AFB
in Texas and was one of the first to audition for
these men and become a member of the Corps.
Meanwhile, Ed Brandt, at the time a member of the
Band School, auditioned and was transferred to the
Corps. It was their early arrival which allowed this
report to be compiled.
One of the difficulties for Corps members in the
early years was the lack of housing. Off base
housing was provided just outside the main gate, on
Portland Street, in temporary government housing
built during WW II.
The Corps began to drill across from Barracks 427,
near the football field, which itself was behind the
Officers' Club. Ultimately, a fire destroyed the
Corps' barracks there, as well as several other
buildings in the Band Squadron.
The very first appearance by the Corps was at the
Cherry Blossom Festival in 1950. Many more parades
and performances followed, but those are stories for
Ed Brandt and Roger Quirion remained in the Corps
for many years thereafter, ever appreciative of the
opportunities for travel and adventure which
followed. (History Continued)