392nd Army Band
To Request the 392nd Army Band:
For more information, visit the Public Affairs Office website
Call Band Operations at (804)734-4323
History of the 392nd Army Band
The 392nd Army Band of Fort Lee carries on a proud musical heritage dating back to the volunteer musicians of 1773 and Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys fife and drum corps of 1775.The history of bands on Fort Lee began with the formation of the first Quartermaster School Band in July 1942. The band was redesignated as the 392nd Army Service Forces Band on March 15, 1944 and was assigned to Camp Lee, Virginia on May 3, 1946. Chief Warrant Officer Henry H. Gruver was the Commander and Master Sergeant Robert J. Longley was the Enlisted Bandleader. The band only had six of its original soldiers from Edgewood when it reported to Camp Lee, but eventually achieved its full strength of 28 players which broadened its scope and function.
The 392d had a weekly radio spot for the Troop Info Program on WSSV, Petersburg. Within the unit they had compiled an 18-piece dance band, a nine-piece combo, a seven-piece combo and a five-piece combo to cover entertainment at the different clubs and dances on post and throughout the local communities.
The 392d Army Service Forces Band was redesignated on June 11, 1946 as the 392d Band. On January 15, 1947 the Army appointed Camp Lee as the Headquarters of a Band Replacement Detachment with CPT Charles Brewton commanding, 1LT Howard W. Willett Executive Officer, and 1SG Raymond Collins the Enlisted Bandleader. The detachment was responsible for training and assigning all Army Bandsmen. At this time the unit size averaged about one thousand men.
On May 15, 1947, the 392nd Band was once again redesignated the 392nd Army Band and was allotted to the regular Army on December 20, 1951. During its early years here the 392nd shared the spotlight with the only Army Band made up entirely of women, the 14th Army WAC Band. Activated at Fort Meade, Maryland in August 1948, the 14th reported to the Women's Army Corps Training Center at Camp Lee in March the following year. Its commander was WOJG Katherine V. Allen, a graduate of the Julliard School of Music. She also attended the Boston Conservatory, University of Virginia, and The College of William and Mary. Under WOJG Allen's command the 14th Army WAC Band toured many different regions including the Fifth Army area of responsibility, Hollywood, California, and the Rose Bowl Parade in 1951.
The mission of an Army band is to promote and maintain the military formation, formal concerts, and recreational activities. However, there is more to the Army band than just its military obligations. The 392nd Army Band also has the distinction of being of being a very visible Goodwill Ambassador to its surrounding civilian communities. This has been demonstrated by annual performances for such community activities as the Richmond St. Patrick's Day Parade, The State Fair of Virginia, 'Patriotism Day,' The Virginia 'First Thanksgiving Celebration' and the many local arts and crafts festivals and community appreciation days that are supported on a recurring basis. The band has a wide repertoire to fill almost any requirement one might have. The musical variety ranges from big band to modern pop, military martial, classical transcriptions, country and western and contemporary rock and roll. Each concert is specifically tailored toward the expected audience.
Today the 392nd Army Band is on call seven days a week to support military, civic, and recruiting commitments. This 40-piece ensemble has played for two presidents, one first lady, and numerous national, state and local dignitaries. The band has received numerous accolades and has played for many dignitaries in an effort to promote a positive military image in the Appomattox Basin and abroad. Whether for a military review, a high school assembly, or a retirement community, the next performance is always the most important.