History of the 129th Army Band

The 129th Army Band traces its lineage back to the earliest units of the Tennessee Militia that protected the early colonial settlements and routed the British at the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. Their predecessors supported the Third Tennessee Infantry Regiment during the Mexican War (1846-1848), the Spanish-American War (1898-1900), and the Mexican Border Campaign of 1916.

Redesignated as the 117th Infantry Regiment Band, they were activated in 1917 as part of the 30th Infantry Division. The 30th ID served in WWI with the American Expeditionary Force during the battles of Somme, Le Selle, Ypres, St. Mehiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne. After WWI, the 30th ID was deactivated and resumed their roles in the National Guards of their respective states.

The 30th Infantry Division was reactivated in September 1940 with the onset of WWII. On June 10, 1944, troops from Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, and Georgia were deployed as a replacement division to compensate for the losses suffered by the 29th ID during the D-Day invasion and were committed almost immediately against the German Army. The 30th ID distinguished itself during the French campaign by spearheading Operation Cobra, opening the way for Patton’s Third Army to drive into Brittany. It was during this campaign that the 30th ID earned the name “Roosevelt’s SS” by the German High Command, due to their constant pressure on the German 1st SS Division. The 30th was also an integral part of stopping the 1st SS’ drive through the Ardennes in the Battle of the Bulge, extracting so many casualties on the elite 1st SS Division that they were that they were no longer able to do battle. The 30th ID was deactivated November 25, 1945, at Camp Jackson, North Carolina.

After deactivation, the individual units of the 30th ID returned to their states. Troops from Tennessee formed the 30th Armored Division where they served proudly from 1945 to 1973. When the 30th AD was disbanded, many units were formed under 30th Troop Command including the 129th Army Band.

Since its inception, the 129th Army Band has represented the state of Tennessee and the Tennessee Army National Guard proudly. From playing at two World’s Fairs to marching in a Presidential Inaugural Parade, the 129th Army Band has been called on to perform countless times across the globe. On two occasions they played for the US Ambassador of Columbia, South America. Additionally, they performed in Izmir, Turkey in support of NATO and have relieved numerous active duty bands at such places as Ft. Monroe, Virginia, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and Schofield Barrack, Hawaii. Also, the 129th Army Band was one of two reserve bands called to active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm.

The 129th Army Band’s most rewarding job, however, is supporting the troops and families of the Tennessee National Guard. Without question, the 129th has established itself as a premier National Guard Band and will continue to perform at the highest level of professionalism every time they are called upon to represent the state of Tennessee and the United States of America.

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Distinctive Unit Insignia