202nd Band trains in Virginia

Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Steven Baker, 202nd Band Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative

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Sgt. Jennifer Bowling plays taps during a ceremony at Fort Eustis, Va., July 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steve Baker)

NOTE: Each week kentuckyguard.com publishes stories by or about Kentucky National Guard unit public affairs historian representatives, also known as UPAHRs. This is an additional duty taken on by a Soldier or Airmen with the intent of telling their unit’s story. This is one such story ….

FORT EUSTIS, Va. — Army band mission statement – The mission of Army bands is to provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations to instill in our forces the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and to promote our national interests at home and abroad.

The 202nd Army Band did just that this summer during their annual training at Fort Eustis, Va.

“Annual Training at Ft. Eustis demonstrated the 202nd Army Band’s ability to backfill for one of America’s outstanding military musical units, the TRADOC band,” said 1st Sgt. James Wallace. “Our soldiers performed every mission required in an exemplary manner and excelled in their Mobilization Readiness Evaluation. Great training. Great troops.”

The purpose of the training was to focus on back-filling the TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) Band while fellow musician soldiers of that unit were on block leave. This mission is not only a requirement for National Guard bands but allows the unit to train for continual support of the regular Army bands in the event of deployment or need.

To see more photos from the 202nd’s annual training, click here

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Sgt. Emily McAleeseJergins prepares for rehearsal during annual training in Fort Eustis, Va., July, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steve Baker)

Sgt. Jennifer Bowling, a trumpet player, has had the opportunity to not only perform with the concert band, ceremonial band, Dixieland and brass MPTs but has performed as the bugler for military funerals.”Taps honors members of the Armed Forces in a way words can’t express,” said Bowling. “As the great granddaughter of an Army trumpet player, performing taps for military funerals holds special meaning for me because it allows me to give honors to the men and women who served as he did.”

Scheduled missions and events included: lunchtime “Bach’s lunch” performances by the woodwind quintet; Jazz Combo and Dixieland band performances for a command reception; two Thursday evening performances, one by the Rock Band “Fallout” and one by concert band at the “Music Under the Stars” concert series held in Magnolia Park.  Additionally, the 202nd provided marching performances for two Change of Command ceremonies with inspections of the troops.

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The 202nd Band marches during a Change of Command ceremony at Fort Eustis, Va., July 20, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Steve Baker)

“As a member of the 202nd Army Band with 14 years of service, I have had the opportunity to play taps many times and I feel fortunate to be able to contribute in a special way that honors our soldiers.”Chief Warrant Officer 4 Greg Stepp, Commander of the 202nd, said the annual training was but another chance for the unit to showcase their talents and continue to excel as a group and for individual members to grow as musicians and as Soldiers.

“As the 202nd moves through personnel transitions, the opportunity to develop new leaders in a real world training environment was invaluable, he said.  “New challenges were provided for soldiers to develop their leadership abilities and musical abilities while providing musical support for Ft. Eustis and TRADOC.”

“The opportunity to support TRADOC in their public outreach mission is of great significance, said Stepp.  “The 202nd again established themselves as mission capable earning all “T’s” (Trained) during their EXEVAL at Ft. Eustis.”

The 202nd is actively recruiting and looking for trombonists, euphonium, French horn, oboe and keyboard performers. It’s a great opportunity for a young person to serve his or her country, get world-class training and have college costs covered.

For additional information about the 202nd Army Band please contact Sgt. 1st Class Angela Wilkins at 502-607-5331.

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