*Note: Most of what is recorded has been dug up from various boxes in the band's library that have moved to and from three different buildings in the past five years. The majority has no date, but references to "recent" events give a rough idea of when it was written. Enjoy. -SGT Burnett

Music has always been an integral part of military life. From the war songs sung by ancient soldiers to inspire courage in themselves and fear in their enemies, and the fifes and drums of the American Revolution, to todays electronically augmented military band, fighting men have traditionally marched with the sound of music in their ears. And true to custom and heritage, the Maine National Guard mirrors this tradition in the form of the 195th Army Band.
Until 1959 Maine boasted two National Guard bands- the 195th in the Bangor-Brewer area and the 136th based in Portland. The southern Maine band included many men who had enlisted in the Guard as members of the 240th Coast Artillery Band at Fort Williams in the 1930's. However, for reasons of economy, the 136th was dissolved in the late 1950's. The 195th continued, and indeed flourished, in several locations including Bangor, Brewer, Augusta, Waterville, Gardiner and now Bangor again in its latest move in January, 1984.
The precursor to the 195th Army Band was initially organized and Federally recognized as the Band Section, Service Battery, 152d Field Artillery, an element of the 43d Division, and was stationed in Old Town. In the 1930's the Band, commanded by Francis G. Shaw, moved to the Bangor Armory. During the pre-WWII build-up, the Band was inducted into Federal service on 24 February 1941. After taking part in several of the big pre-war Southern maneuvers, the unit was reorganized and re-designated the 203d Field Artillery Band. Several more re-designations followed and the Band later served in the Pacific Theatre and was awarded the Republic of the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation for the period 14 October 1944 to 4 July 1945. The Band was deactivated at Fort Bragg, N.C. in November, 1945.
After the War, the Army and National Guard underwent massive changes and the Band emerged as the 195th Army Ground Forces Band on 28 September 1946. It was re-designated the 195th Army Band on 17 May 1947. In January 1948, CWO Nathan J. Diamond of Bangor assumed command of the Unit and held that position until his retirement in October 1980.
During Mr. Diamond's tenure, the Band survived a near tragic plane crash in which several members were injured. Also, public disenchantment with the military during the Vietnam era brought times of low enlistment but the Band revived to its present status as complete, well-balanced musical ensemble. Performances during these years included appearances at the New York World's Fair, Boston's Jubilee 350 Celebration in 1980 and the "Eastern States" Exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Band has also appeared in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Annual Training in recent years has been held in Maine, although in June 1982 the Unit, now commanded by CWO Arthur Monk, attended a two-week course at the Navy School of Music at Little Creek, Virginia. Annual Training in 1984 included several engagements in Canada.
The function of the 195th Army Band is two-fold; to support units of the Maine National Guard, and to provide free public entertainment for the citizens of Maine. Its military commitment is exemplified by the unit's participation in a review of the 133d Engineer Battalion in Portland in October, 1982, and its yearly training appearance at the Maine Military Academy graduation in Augusta. Among its many public performances the 195th numbers the Potato Blossom Festival, R.B. Hall Day, and numerous parades and concerts throughout the state.
The 195th Army Band maintains a proud legacy of music and service in and for the state of Maine.

Shoulder Sleeve Insignia

Distinctive Unit Insignia