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The band is Pennsylvania’s oldest music performance group with a history of uninterrupted service of more than 60 years. It was organized as part of the 28th “Keystone” Division Headquarters Company prior to WWII when the 109th, 110th, and 112th Infantry Bands were dissolved. At the beginning of WWII, the band was inducted into federal service and served throughout the war, earning distinction in defense of Wiltz during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. The band’s decorations include the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Luxembourg Croix De Guerre.
Following the war in December of 1945, the band returned to Pennsylvania and was designated the 28th Infantry Division Band. This designation has been maintained although they were reorganized as part of the 28th Division Trains in June of 1959.
While serving its mission with the 28th “Keystone” Division, the band has performed throughout the nation to include performances for President Gerald Ford and President Ronald Reagan’s arrival to Pennsylvania soil and leading the parade in Philadelphia during the Centennial celebration on July 4th, 1976. Other noteworthy performances include the Miss America Pageant Parade in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the 500th Anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the Western Hemisphere in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1988, the band was invited by the French government to perform various memorial services held in Chateau-Thierry on the 70th anniversary of WWI. The band returned to France in 1990 to perform at services commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in WWII. In September of 1994 the 28th “Keystone” Division Band was once again invited to Europe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Belgium and Luxemburg.
The ceremonies in Luxemburg were very significant for the 28th “Keystone” Division Band. A ceremony was held in the location where the band in 1944 laid down its instruments and fought side by side with the other soldiers of the division during the Battle of the Bulge. The band fought courageously, but suffered great casualties. After the battle there were only 16 out of 60 men left to reorganize the unit. The 28th “Keystone” Division Band had the honor to play at the graveside of one of these brave soldier / musicians.
Most recently the 28th “Keystone” Division Band traveled to Bosnia in the winter of 2002 to perform for the troops of the 28th Division. These men and women where part of the peacekeeping forces serving our country around the world. The Band also traveled to the city of Diekirch, Luxemburg, in November of 2004 to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Thanksgiving meal prepared for the soldiers of the 28th Division during WWII.
At present, the 28th “Keystone” Division Band is located at the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home and is under the command of 1SG Robert P. Baranik. The band takes extreme pride in their history of service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to the United States of America.