FORT LEE, Va. (June 23, 2016) -- In a performance that brought tears to many in the audience and drew several standing ovations, the 392nd Army Band said its goodbyes to the Fort Lee community at a farewell concert featuring more than 30 former members of the group Saturday in the Lee Theater.
Following the last song on the program – “The Army Goes Rolling Along” – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin Pick, the band commander, gave the deep final bow that demonstrated his group’s appreciation for the years of applause and enthusiastic community support.
The 392nd traces its history to the 1940s. The band will be deactivated and downsized to about a dozen Soldiers by the end of this summer as part of the Army’s reshaping efforts to meet future operational mission demands.
The first half of the 90-minute concert featured many patriotic selections and other well-known pieces by the current 30-member formation. For the second half, about 30 band alumni from all over the country – some from the ‘40s and ‘50s – joined the current musicians on stage. The combined band performed standard Army tunes as well as marches and classical pieces that have delighted audiences over the years.
Band member Staff Sgt. Tierra Brown, who served as the master of ceremonies, shouted “Wow” when a former 392nd musician from 1946 was introduced. Standing ovations occurred several times throughout the night and heartfelt songs from the Barbershop Quartet received shouts of encore.
Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, and Col. Paul K. Brooks, garrison commander, made remarks during the program. In their comments, they praised the band and alumni who provided years of dedicated support to neighboring communities and represented Fort Lee in military ceremonies.
The recent history of bands on the installation 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 on May 3, 1946 with six Soldiers. It eventually achieved its full strength of 28 players that broadened its scope and function.
The 392nd Army Service Forces Band was redesignated on June 11, 1946 as the 392nd Band. On Jan. 15, 1947, the Army appointed Camp Lee as the headquarters of a Band Replacement Detachment. On May 15, 1947, the 392nd Band was once again redesignated the 392nd Army Band, and was allotted to the regular Army on Dec. 20, 1951.
Over its long history, the full 40-piece ensemble played for two presidents, one first lady, in the Rose Bowl Parade and before numerous national, state and local dignitaries and at major local community events. For the past few years, the band has visited many Central Virginia schools to perform as part of the Army’s Music in Our Schools initiative. The band has received numerous accolades over its history.