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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 School.

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 another chapter.

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)

 
 
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