News: Hometown hero from Newtown to march with US Air Force Band and Honor Guard in 57th Inaugural Parade
Who/What: The U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard are proud to represent the Air Force in the 2013 inaugural parade. The 99-piece band and 80-person Honor Guard flight will march along the 1.5-mile route that begins at 4th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and goes past the White House.
When: Jan. 21, 2013
Where: Washington, D.C.
Hometown: Newtown, Conn.
Band and Honor Guard members may be available for interviews upon request. To request an interview, please contact Erika Glon at 240-612-6484 or via email at Erika.Glon@afncr.af.mil.
Background on Hometown Hero:
Originally from Newtown, Conn., Master Sgt. Joseph Paul Grasso, Jr. began his Air Force career in 2004. Grass is a trumpeter with the Ceremonial Brass, the U.S. Air Force Band's all brass and percussion ensemble. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in trumpet performance from Western Connecticut State University. He then pursued a graduate degree at the University of Connecticut. Grasso’s full biography can be found at http://www.usafband.af.mil/ensembles/BandBio.asp?BandBioID=712.
Background on U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard:
The U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard are stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C. Their presentations instill patriotism, deliver positive messages about the Air Force and America, and demonstrate Air Force excellence to billions of people worldwide.
Since its formation, the Air Force Band has marched in 15 inaugural parades (there was no parade in 1945, and the 1985 parade was canceled due to weather). The band began in 1941 when the newly-formed U.S. Army Air Corps activated 59 bands into operation. It was initially called The Bolling Field “Band” and consisted of five men — a saxophone quartet and a bandleader. Over the next 71 years, the Band expanded its size and mission to include six primary performing ensembles and a global mission. The band’s uplifting programs instill patriotism, deliver positive messages about the Air Force and America, and demonstrate Air Force excellence to billions of listeners on television, radio, Internet and at more than 1,600 live events each year.
The primary mission of the United States Air Force Honor Guard is to render military honors to members of the Air Force, past and present, and their families during funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery. In addition to this distinguished duty, the Honor Guard also conducts military ceremonies at the White House, Pentagon and national memorials representing the Air Force in presidential, joint service, Air Force and public ceremonies. The beginnings of the Honor Guard’s rich history date back to May 1948 when it was originally activated within Bolling Field’s 1100th Security Squadron. It remained primarily a function of that squadron until Jan. 1, 1972, when it became a separate unit.
The members of both of these elite Air Force units are proud to represent all airmen, whose selfless service and sacrifice ensure the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.