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    145th Army Band celebrates 100 years

    145th Army Band celebrates 100 years

    Photo By Sgt. Brian Schroeder | Members of the 145th Army Band gathered at the Oklahoma History Center Sept. 8 to...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Brian Schroeder 

    Oklahoma National Guard

    OKLAHOMA CITY – The 145th Army Band celebrated its 100th year on Sept. 8th at the Oklahoma History Center. Known as the “Governor’s Own,” the 145th Army Band, 90th Troop Command, based out of Oklahoma City, is one of the top bands in the United States Military. For those who serve in the band, the legacy of the unit keeps its members coming back for an encore.

    The mission of the band is to provide music to instill the Oklahoma National Guard with unit spirit, promote troop morale and support military operations through bolstering civil and military relations. Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Brooks, 145th Army Band section leader, joined the band on a whim 25 years ago. He said the band is special simply because the nature of its mission is different.

    “We serve through music,” Brooks said. “When we play a deployment or we play a welcome home ceremony, we bring an element that, if [the music] is not there, it feels empty and insincere. We’re able to, through music, filter all of that together and make the room feel like we’re all in this together, because we are. Music has that power.”

    Throughout its history, the 145th Army Band has performed in front of presidents, vice-presidents and members of royal families from all around the world. The unit has participated in multiple campaigns in World War II and the Korean War, and served as a ceremonial band for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom deployments.

    Some of the members of the 145th Army Band are public school band directors, but having a degree in music is not required. Many members of the band are educators, college students, school administrators and one is a registered nurse.

    Approximately 18 months ago, Brooks said representatives from the U. S. Armed Forces School of Music came to Oklahoma to research why the Oklahoma National Guard had so many high scoring musicians coming out of the School of Music. Brooks attributed it to recruiting musicians who strive for achieving outstanding levels of excellence.

    “We are held in high regard across the nation as one of the premier National Guard bands,” Brooks said. “A lot of that has to do with who we are recruiting. We have a lot of talented musicians in the unit. Our standards are high and hopefully that continues.”

    Officially organized and federally recognized on Aug. 31, 1918, the 145th Army Band began as the Band Section, Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry, and in 1940 was reorganized under the 179th Infantry as the Regimental Band.

    Despite having a master’s degree in guitar performance and education, Sgt. Hector Lopez, 145th Army Band senior instrumentalist, began his National Guard career as an infantryman. However, after serving seven years with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, Oklahoma Army National Guard, he was swayed by members of the 145th Army Band to bring his talents to the unit.

    “[The 179th Infantry Regiment] is a well-known unit and I am proud to be from that unit,” Lopez said. “When I found the Band’s lineage started as the 179th Regimental Band, I thought that’s too cool. It’s like I never left.”

    The primary reason why Lopez said he joined was to serve, and the 145th Army Band is completely service oriented. The fulfillment he receives from serving other National Guard units and the local community keeps him motivated to perform the band’s mission.

    “My family are immigrants and I am the first born in the United States, so, I have a mentality that I owe everything to this country,” Lopez said. “Just to serve is giving back. I feel like the whole point of being alive is to give more than you take out.”

    The 145th Army Band’s decorations include Meritorious Unit Commendation streamers from Korea in 1952-1953, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm from World War II.

    Sgt. Brandon McMillian, senior musician, has played tuba in the 145th Army Band for nine years. He said he was motivated to continue playing once he graduated from college, and the Oklahoma Army National Guard gave him that opportunity. For McMillian, playing music with his fellow Soldiers is more than just a hobby.

    “Music is life,” McMillian said. “Music is everything, and we are professionals. When I found my fellow 145th compadres, it was like I have a chance to make music for the foreseeable future; to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself. As human beings, I think we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and that’s what being in this unit means to me.”



    Date Taken: 09.27.2018
    Date Posted: 09.27.2018 17:46
    Story ID: 294697
    Location: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US 

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