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THE UNITED STATES ARMY OLD GUARD FIFE & DRUM CORPS
 JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, VIRGINIA -

History

Summary

Organized in 1960, The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is the only unit of its kind in the armed forces, and is part of the The 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard). The Fife and Drum Corps is stationed at Fort Myer, VA.

The musicians of this unit recall the days of the American Revolution as they parade in uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of Gen. George Washington's Continental Army. Military musicians of the period wore the reverse colors of the regiments to which they were assigned. The uniforms worn by the members of the Corps are dated circa 1781, and consist of black tricorn hats, white wigs, waistcoats, colonial coveralls, and red regimental coats.


The drum major of the unit is distinguished from the other musicians by his headgear, the light-infantry Cap. In contrast to modern Army bands, and as an indication of prominence, he carries an spontoon instead of the standard mace. The spontoon is an 18th century weapon carried by officers. However, it is used by the drum major to issue silent commands to the Corps.

The 69-member Corps uses 10-hole fifes, handmade rope-tensioned drums and single-valve bugles, which bring to life the exciting sounds of the continental army. While traveling, the marching strength of the unit is normally 22 musicians, and the drum major and support personnel.

As an official representative of the U.S. Army, the Corps averages nearly 2,000 performances annually. The Corps has entertained millions of people in major parades, pageants and historical celebrations throughout the United States; and has served America as a goodwill ambassador as far away as Europe, Australia and Canada. Major sporting events the Corps has performed at include NCAA bowl games, NBA games, NFL games including Super Bowl XVI, the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500, and the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid NY.

In support of the president, the Corps performs at all armed-forces arrival ceremonies for visiting dignitaries and heads of state at the White House, and has participated in every Presidential Inaugural Parade since President John F. Kennedy's in 1961.



Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Distinctive Unit Insignia