A Dedicated Air Force Career
Joe recalls some of the good old days at Bolling Air Force Base and around the World!
TSGT Robert N. "Joe" College was one of the original members of the USAF Drum & Bugle Corps. Joe's tenure in the corps spanned from 1949 until 1957 when he transferred into the Supply Section of the USAF Band.
In 1965 Joe requested assignment to Lackland AFB as part of the instructional staff of the Basic Military Training School Drum Corps which included Greg Lykens and Jim Moore.
In 1967 he was assigned to the United States Air Force Academy Drum & Bugle Corps in Colorado Springs until his retirement in 1970.
Photo above: Joe turns in his soprano bugle to make it official as he became the first enlisted man in USAF history to retire from a Drum & Bugle Corps. The memorable occasion was 31 August 1970.
"Each weekday at 0530 we were awakened by SGT Fordore blowing his whistle or beating on a pan to get us awake. At 0600 we marched to chow. I often wondered how our practicing in the attic of Building 20 affected the people in the dorms below and if they were able to get any sleep during the day". "We played retreat everyday and they even threw in few Base parades for good measure. Every Friday we checked out our M-1 rifles from the Armory and went into the field across the street to practice close order drill and the manual of arms. On a few occasions we even marched with weapons at Arlington Cemetery". "In early 1950 we began to play the generic 'off the shelf' drum corps music when it was available. Jimmy Roland did some special arrangements that were really great and eventually lead to the formation of our concert unit. We performed at various high schools in the DC area and were very graciously received. When the corps was at full strength we had 72 men. This included 60 in formation and 12 spares to train". "The memories of the corps becoming part of the USAF Band and Col. Howard presenting us with the Hat Brass I will remember forever - but I must tell you this little story. In December 1949 when the letter circulated asking for volunteers there were four of us in the Bandsman School who chose to volunteer. A few days later we were called into the Commandants office. He read us a letter from Col. Howard stating that the Colonel would approve the transfer to the Drum & Bugle Corps, but we would never be allowed to re-enter the USAF Music Field !" "So many memories. The Ed Sullivan Show (several times). Performing with Theresa Brewer and Louie Armstrong. The Dave Garroway Show, St. Paul Winter Carnival, Radio City Music Hall, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and New Year's Eve in New Orleans. The trips to Europe - France, Germany, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, Olympic Stadium, the Far East and so many other places".
"Best of all, no one will ever be able to take
these fond memories away from me!"
This certificate presented to all USAF Drum & Bugle Corps
members when the Corps disbanded.
(Certificate size reduced to accommodate web page)