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Albany Marine Band brings home honors

27 Jan 2011 | Pamela Jackson

Albany’s best kept secret is out of the bag! While they may be small in numbers, when the 48 members of the Albany Marine Band get together, their sounds can be heard all over Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany when they practice for their next performance. Marine Corps Logistics Command’s Albany Marine Band was recently named the FY2010 Marine Corps Band of the Year and honored during the annual Marine Corps Leadership Symposium Dec. 14, 2010, in Chicago, Ill.

“I am truly humbled by the honor,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christian Flores, officer-in-charge, Albany Marine Band. “I’m excited that the award is not just about the music, but it acknowledges the level of physical fitness and commitment to higher training standards. I’ve always believed that Marines who are treated like Marines can accomplish anything.”

The Albany Marine Band won this prestigious honor for their excellence in musical performance and Marine Corps training accomplishments, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Jeff Fangman, bandmaster, Albany Marine Band. He noted in addition to the President’s Own and Commandant’s Own, there are a total of 12 field bands in the Marine Corps. “We did not actively participate in a competition, but did submit a recording of a march and the national anthem.

Fangman said at the end of the fiscal year, Head-quarters Marine Corps’ music section, pulls training statistics for the field bands. These statistics include physical fitness and combat fitness test data, pistol range scores, Marine Corps Martial Arts Pro-gram belts, swim qualification scores and anything else having to do with a band member being a basic Marine.

“I think the main reason we were selected was the high average our band members scored on their trainings,” he said. “Everyone has a first class PFT and CFT score. In my opinion, I think what pushed us over the edge was our basic Marine warrior skills.” The Albany Marine Band performs all across the United States.

“One of the biggest assets to the Marine Corps is their bands and the level of community involvement each one has,” Fangman said. “Our mission is to not only support Logistics Command and their ceremonies and local parades, but we also have a major recruiting component.”

The band travels approximately 20 weeks a year, performing and supporting the Marine Corps Recruiting Command by going into high schools all across the country and telling the Marine Corps’ story.

“We tell the students what it means to be a Marine and even though we are musicians, every Marine is a basic rifleman,” Fangman said. “This is one of the greatest messages we can get across to youth - we are all basic warriors who just happen to play musical instruments.”

Freedom’s Shield

The Albany Marine Band was issued a challenge by Maj. Gen. James A. Kessler, commanding general, Logistics Command, to write a song specifically for the command. Freedom’s Shield was presented to Kessler and other base leaders Jan. 14. at the Base Theater.

According to band officials, the musical piece was commissioned in honor of Marine Week, specifically for the Albany Marine Band. The work is meant to portray the various aspects of Logistics Command and the Marine Corps.

“To show appreciation for those who serve and support the warfighters; To gain freedom, it must be won; Honor cannot be gained, it can only be lost,” as personally inscribed on a note by the Emmy Award winning composer, Julie Ann Giroux.

Gunnery Sgt. Kenneth Douglas, drum major, Albany Marine Band, said the significance of the piece is that the commanding general asked us to develop a piece of music that would tell the story of what Logistics Command is all about.

Following the performance, Kessler told the band members, “I was imagining what pictures of Logistics Command, Maintenance Center Albany and Barstow, (Calif.), and Blount Island Command, (Jacksonville, Fla.), might go with the music,” he said. “I look forward to taking this around the country and around the globe ... job well-done Marines.”

“We believe it’s important to be an example of what the American public can expect of all its Marines. The higher sense of purpose makes the award more meaningful,” Flores said.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany