202nd Army Band of the Kentucky National Guard
751st Troop Command

Annual Unit History – FY 2006–2007

202nd Army Band of the Kentucky National
751st Troop Command

Annual Unit History – FY 2006–2007

Prepared by:

SFC James E. Wallace, Unit Historian
SFC Scott Dobler, Alternate Unit Historian

20 December 2007

Commander’s Summary

The 2006-2007 training year ranks among the most successful and productive in the unit’s history. As we celebrate the 202nd’s Army Band’s sixtieth anniversary, senior NCOs and unit personnel can look back with pride upon an exceptional annual training experience. During our 60th Anniversary Tour of Kentucky from 30 June 2007 to 14 July 2007 the musical support teams (MST) structure made its public debut, and as a result we expanded NCO leadership opportunities and enhanced the unit’s ability to reach an even wider array of audiences simultaneously. Through a series of concerts, parades, and small ensemble performances 202nd bandsmen distinguished themselves and served as able representatives of the Kentucky National Guard. Among the highlights was the 60th Anniversary reunion concert conducted on 9 July 2007 in Ashland Kentucky, the unit’s former home station. Over twenty-five former 202nd Army Band members attended a pre-concert banquet along with three former commanders.

Other highlights during the year included significant equipment acquisitions and the remodeling/renovation of our armory. The need for improvements in these areas was highlighted during a February 2007 Army Band Mission Readiness Evaluation (ABMRE) conducted by CW5 Klintberg of the 43rd Reserve Band, Nebraska. Thanks to the support of Lt. Colonel John H. Pope, 751st Troop Command, and General John W. Heltzel, the unit received approximately $250,000 worth of new instrumentation and other needed equipment after these concerns were communicated to higher command. Facilities-related improvements at our armory—roof replacement, electrical systems upgrades, repainting, new carpeting and flooring, replacement of acoustic dampening tiles, and new supply room storage systems have greatly strengthened unit mission readiness and enhanced soldiers’ morale.

Repeatedly, senior NCO leadership has made a positive difference in ensuring mission accomplishment. We finalized the transition from retiring veteran 1SG Charles David Adwell to his successor 1SG Sharon R. Cates. As commander, I convey my heartfelt thanks to 1SG (Retired) Charles David Adwell. First Sergeant Cates assumed her new duties in April 2007 and has proven to be an exceptional leader who through her professionalism and hard work has earned the respect of her soldiers. My senior NCO leadership team—Readiness NCO SSG Alan Robinson, SFC Scott Dobler, SFC Angela Wilkins, and SFC James E. Wallace has performed with distinction. Their commitment and dedication helped ensure the 202nd Army Band’s success during the period under review.

Special commendation is deserved by SGT Steven D. Thompson who was assigned the task of composing the Kentucky National Guard’s first official song. Sergeant Thompson, a doctoral candidate in music theory at the University of Kentucky, spent the better part of the training year composing the march “Kentucky’s Guardians,” which will have its debut performance on 3rd November 2007. The project was initiated by Colonel (Retired) Armando J. Alfaro, a former liaison officer for the band and the originator of the concept of having the 202nd Army Band conduct an in-state musical tour during its Annual Training.

Our unit received special recognition from the Command Historian of the Kentucky National Guard, John W. Trowbridge, on 26 June 2007 and was presented with the first ever Command Historian’s Annual Award for exemplary preservation of the 202nd Army Band’s historical record. We look forward to the December 2007 publication of a comprehensive one hundred-page unit history now under preparation by Command Historian Trowbridge.

Exemplary recruiting efforts have ensured that unit strength was maintained and expanded. Numerous musical support missions to honor soldiers returning from deployment and a wide array of community concerts highlighted the public relations mission of the 202nd Army Band. Overall, I am exceptionally proud of the performance of the soldiers under my command. Their professionalism and commitment to the unit’s mission represents the finest tradition of the U.S. Army and the Kentucky National Guard.

The on-going, major challenge confronting this unit remains the acquisition of adequate rehearsal facilities. Higher command is aware of this problem and is working to resolve it.

The year ahead promises to be an exciting one as our soldiers prepare for Annual Training 2008 at Ft. Monroe, Virginia.

Gregory N Stepp
202nd AG Band

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