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 AF officials announce manpower force structure changes
Air Force announces band restructure; AFMC’s two bands impacted

Posted 3/6/2012   Updated 3/6/2012 Email story   Print story


Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

3/6/2012 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- As part of an ongoing service-wide search for efficiencies, the Air Force announced March 6, 2012, the restructure of the service's military band program. The announcement, along with other force changes, was made as part of the Air Force's broader force structure measures.

Air Force Materiel Command's two bands, the USAF Band of Liberty and the USAF Band of Flight, are included in the restructure. The 45-member Band of Liberty, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., will be deactivated, and the Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, will be downsized from 45 to 15 members.

"The reduction of band personnel across the Air Force parallels the overall Air Force decrease in active-duty and reserve personnel levels," said Ron Fry, director of public affairs at AFMC headquarters. "Air Force bands help build, maintain and strengthen morale, and improve community relations for the Air Force. Those missions will continue, but in a more efficient, targeted and prioritized way."

The Band of Flight at Wright-Patterson presently serves a seven-state region. Under the restructure, it will support events in and around Wright-Patterson and the rest of Ohio only. The Band of Liberty presently serves the New England area. Following its deactivation, that area will be served by the USAF Band of Heritage from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

It is planned for bands to maintain their current rate of operations until about June 2013 when manpower realignments will begin. The restructure will be complete by Sept. 30, 2013. Personnel from bands being deactivated or downsized will be reassigned to other Air Force regional bands as the band career field's attrition rate should absorb the restructure's reduction of 103 positions Air Force wide.

The Band of Liberty was known originally as the 541st Air Force Band of the Southwest stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., until the unit relocated to Pease AFB, N.H., in 1978. In 1991, the band received its current name and was assigned to AFMC's Electronics Systems Center at Hanscom AFB.

The Band of Flight was activated on Sept. 24, 1942, at Patterson Field -- later Wright-Patterson AFB -- as the 361st Army Air Force Band. Following several name changes, it was redesignated as The Air Force Band of Flight in 1991.

The band restructure plan, approved by the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force, is designed to properly align limited Air Force resources against ongoing requirements and is based on the geographic prioritization of resources and capabilities. The restructure is one of many initiatives across the Air Force with the goal of creating efficiencies and maintaining effective capabilities.

In addition to impacts on the two AFMC bands, the restructure plan includes the deactivation of two bands, The Band of the Air Force Reserve, Robins AFB, Ga., and the Band of the Pacific-Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson; and the downsizing from 45 to 15 authorizations of The Heartland of America Band, Offutt AFB, Neb.

The Air Force's premiere band in Washington D.C. recently underwent a separate restructure.

2/2/2013 2:28:46 PM ET
Many of us went through a similar cut in '78 and '79.My heart goes out to those affected by this senseless reduction.
Steve Whitten, Kentucky
3/10/2012 11:24:37 PM ET
What a shame we have to cut back on something that is already only a tiny part of the overall AF budget. We all know the impact music has in our lives. This really is assanine considering the amount of people we DON'T need in congress. Let's do a cut back on them in fact how many of them are there that we could do without Give me a break people. Please get your priorities straight. Geez.
Paige Oatis, St. Louis MO
3/8/2012 7:03:50 PM ET
It goes along with the general lack of respect that live music represents. Why pay a musician when you can have a recording. There is no way of measuring the impact that Air Force Bands have had in America as public relations and recruiting tools. Remember this the next time you are at a military funeral and the bugler turns out to have a plastic trumpet with a speaker and recorded chip imbedded in it Not kidding they really use them now
John Anderson, Marysville WA
3/8/2012 11:42:50 AM ET
Amazing news Even more amazing is the fact that while we are cutting music the politicians in Washington DC keep spending and are totally out of control. The great country we had is waning and this is another example of a futile effort to make it seem like the USA is cutting the budget. I feel for all of those affected. I am one of five musicians to be assigned to the NORAD BAND USAF ACADEMY BAND USAF BAND DC. I used to talk to every young person about considering military music as a career now I tell them to stay away from the band program. And the job that has been done on the USAF ACADEMY BAND is tragic Pete Rosa SMSgt USAF Retired
Peter J. Rosa, Venice FL
3/7/2012 11:06:41 PM ET
When i joined the Air Force Band in 1952 there were 142 bands. After awhile theystarted chipping away. Now down to almost nothing how will the men in the service march with the Honor Duty Country feeling we all have and what happens to the USO service club NCO club and Officers club that all the bases that DONT have bands.. What do they do Who will march to a recordingFormer A1C S.L. Chandler 695th AirForce band at Mountain Home A.F.B Idaho
S. L. Chandler, North Palm Bch. FL.
3/7/2012 7:59:08 PM ET
I love the opening line of this article...As part of an ongoing service-wide search for efficiencies... Wow - really efficient folks. You're really saving some money...never mind the huge return on investment you lose as a result. The most important resource any organization has is its people. And once again the Air Force leadership demonstrates how poorly they understand this.
Gilbert Corella, Washington D.C.
3/7/2012 2:05:32 PM ET
This is indeed sad news but typical. Im sure I wasnt the only person to write to my Congressperson when cuts were being talked about. In my case it is Mary Bono Mack. I could tell by the response I received that bands and musicians were certainly the last thing she would ever be concerned about. Her response said something to the effect that the brass in the Pentagon knew what they were doing better than she. Im not certain what hurts more this immediate fact about the AF Bands or the overall fight to keep MUSIC alive. This fight has been going on as long as I can remember. It didnt start here. Even while I was in junior high I remember that the sports teams got much of their equipment paid for while the school band had to have bake sales and such just to get uniforms. But we still had to be ready to play a show at every game for support. The non-musicians in the military dont have a clue regarding the importance of music until it isnt there for their Dining-In Dining
Tim Bowen, Moreno Valley CA
3/7/2012 11:52:21 AM ET
The funds required to keep the entire music program without any cuts is small less than 1 percent compared to the allocation of funds that go into planes ships tanks bases etc. The bigger concern is the loss of situational awareness of music's important role in the enrichment of the human spirit as a whole. Ever since the age of Classical Antiquity the great minds taught us that in order to be balanced you needed the Academics Sports and Music.
MP, Greater DFW
3/7/2012 9:34:22 AM ET
Wow a whole 75 people off the payroll in the next year. A HUGE savings for our country in order to kill of a long standing tradition. That should totally eliminate the deficit Why not instead cut back some congressional perks
R. DeDominick, Va. Beach VA
3/7/2012 12:12:09 AM ET
I am shocked that any branch of the military would deactivate the band that is the oldest band in their branch-The Band of the Air Force Reserve. What happened to the pride of tradition I grew up with as a military child Tradition is one of the things that set our branches of military above all others. This is a sad day for the military. What a loss.
Joseph Figo, Jefferson City MO
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