The 188th Army Band is located in the Armed Forces Reserve Center, right off County Road #20, North of Hector International Airport in Fargo. The Armed Forces Reserve Center is a two-story, 120,000 square foot facility which was constructed in 1994 and is home for the ND Army Guard Units and the US Naval Reserve for North Dakota.

The official mission of the 188th Army Band is to provide music throughout the full spectrum of military operations and to instill in our Soldiers the will to fight and win, to foster the support of our citizens, to promote our national interests at home and abroad, and to entertain our audiences. In successful completion and ongoing fulfillment of that mission, the band has continued to provide music to the citizens and Soldiers of North Dakota for over 120 years.

The Band was organized in 1887 in Valley City, Dakota Territory. The unit designation was changed in 1889 when North Dakota was admitted to the Union. In 1891 the band was moved to Lisbon. The First North Dakota Infantry Band was ordered to active duty in 1916 to support General “Blackjack” Pershing during the Mexican Border War and then to France in support of World War I. Following the war, the band returned to Lisbon, newly reorganized as the 164th Infantry Band. The band, along with the rest of the North Dakota Army National Guard, was once again ordered to active duty, this time in support of World War II, serving in the Pacific. After its’ return, the band was once again reorganized, this time as the 294th Army Band. In 1959 the band was reorganized yet again as the 188th Army Band, and moved to its present armory, in Fargo.

In more modern history, current individuals of the 188th Army Band have answered their country’s call and proudly served their nation in Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), KFOR (Kosovo), and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Serving closer to home, individual members of the band have assisted with disaster relief efforts in North Dakota. The 188th Army Band was ordered to State Active Duty to assist with the Flood of 2009.

The current organization remains busy providing a broad spectrum of music, including Concert Band, Marching Band, Dixieland Band, Brass Quintet, Jazz Band, Stage Band, Polka Band, Dance and Show Bands, and various other small chamber ensembles.

During the 124 years of the band’s existence, its Soldiers have trained across the nation and around the world. In the United States, the band has performed and trained in places to include; Washington, D.C., Mount Rushmore, SD, Valley Forge, PA, St. Louis, MO, Nashville, TN, San Francisco, CA, Fort Monroe, VA, Great Falls, MT, and Minneapolis, MN. Outside of the United States, the band has performed in many places, including Winnipeg, Manitoba, Montego Bay, Jamaica, Brisbane, Australia, and Heidelberg, Germany.

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Distinctive Unit Insignia