TROY, N.Y. (June 16, 2011) --
The Marines of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band have performed at more than 50,000 events, both military and civilian, since its activation in 1941. By playing at these events, the band supports 2nd MAW in a way just as important as any other unit.
Thousands of civilians and veterans watched the 2nd MAW Band perform in concert and march in a parade June 11-12 in Troy, N.Y., for their annual Flag Day celebration and again advancing the mission of the wing.
The missions of most units are more tangible because the results of their work can be seen directly. Either a unit will directly fight the enemy, or it will provide some form of logistical support to a unit. Though the band augments its Marines to a variety of Marine occupational specialites outside of the band, it’s primary mission is to serve as the face of the aircraft wing.
“All the Marines at the MAW, they’re doing their jobs,” said Staff Sgt. Jerry M. Williams Jr., a trumpet player for the band. “They’re fixing airplanes, sitting in administrative shops, typing up their paperwork and taking care of the Marines of the MAW. Unfortunately for them, they’re unable to go out and have face-to-face time with the public. The importance of us being out here is to represent the work that they do, taking care of the Marines of the MAW, the United States and freedom around the world. We’re representing thousands of other Marines doing their job in support of liberty and justice.”
Through the style of their appearance and magnificence of their music, band Marines send a clear message to the public portraying what the 2nd MAW is about. They appear to the public in striking dress blue uniforms and maintain a perfect step while playing on the march. Their main selection of music is marches originally designed by the writers to convey the greatness of their country or military units.
“Given our pristine appearance, it gives a view to the general public that we as Marines set such a high standard of discipline and this is what we carry through in all aspects of our jobs,” said Sgt. Michael A. Winterstien, a trumpet player for the band. “Not just in playing music, or in putting on the uniform, but in a war-fighting standpoint, we carry all this discipline into everything we do.”
Their efforts to achieve perfection pay dividends. Many parade-goers commented to the band that they were the best they had seen. The reaction the crowd gives to a performance gives the Marines the strength to continue their hard work.
“This was a 16-hour bus ride plus about 60 hours of rehearsals beforehand,” said Lance Cpl. Michael R. Bundy, a trumpet player for the band. “Making it all worth it is being able to play for those people. Then once you’re done playing and putting everything you have on the line; them clapping for you and recognizing who we are, that we’re people and Marines and we honorably serve every day.”
In the crowd during the concert was an old face particularly happy to be there. To celebrate his birthday, Bradley Fay’s children bought tickets to the concert so he could hear the new sound of his old band. Fay, a local resident, was stationed with the 2nd MAW Band from 1958 – 1961 and was ecstatic to share some of his experiences with the new members of the band.
“Being a part of the band was a great time and experience,” said Fay. “We went all over the East Coast from Dallas to Erie, Penn. We went on Operation Inland Sea, which was first time they had military ships on the Great Lakes since the War of 1812. We went to Fort Niagara and Rochester, N.Y. We didn’t travel like you guys in those fancy buses, we traveled in box cars. We had it pretty rough sometimes. It was a wonderful way to spend my military service. I had no idea we were going to be doing this, it was time well spent.”