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Seventy-five men of the United States Army Band are in Cambridge this week living in Thayer Hall and playing for the Centennial ceremonies. They played Wednesday on the Cambridge Common and yesterday led the parade up Massachusetts Avenue through the Square and around the Common.
One of the most heavily rated outfits in the Army, as well as one of the best military bands in the country, it consists of 115 enlisted men, all of whom, under their new table of organization are buck sergeants and up. Seventy-five percent of the men are in the regular army, and it is expected that almost all of them will be shortly.
Led by Chief Warrant Officer Hugh Curry, whose home is in Cambridge, the band is normally attached to the Washington Military District and plays at all formal military occasions around the capitol. One of its principal duties is playing for military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. The outfit, however, came to Cambridge directly from Des Moines, Iowa, where they were on hand for the State Centennial celebration.
The unit was established on a permanent basis in 1922 by General Pershing, and during the war they were in the ETO attached to General Eisenhower's headquarters. In the course of their overseas tour, the men were in North Africa, Sicily, England, France, Belgium, and Germany. They returned from overseas on June 15, 1945, by plane in order to play for General Eisenhower's victorious reception in Washington and New York.
Although all the men are now sergeants, the question of rank has long been a bone of contention between the Army band and the Navy and Marine bands. The latter had always had all their men in the first three grades. During the war the Army band had no trouble in finding skilled musicians, but with the onset of rapid demobilization it was found necessary to give the increase in ratings in order to keep the talented men they had acquired.
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