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NEWS | Aug. 15, 2012

Kentucky Army National Guard's 202nd Army Band takes on band duties with TRADOC, Fort Eustis

By Sgt. 1st Class Steven Baker Kentucky National Guard

FORT EUSTIS, Va. - The mission of Army bands is to provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations to instill in our forces the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and to promote our national interests at home and abroad.

The 202nd Army Band did just that this summer during a mission at Fort Eustis, Va., backfilling for the Training and Doctrine Command Band while Soldiers from that unit were on block leave.

"Our Soldiers performed every mission required in an exemplary manner and excelled in their Mobilization Readiness Evaluation," said Army 1st Sgt. James Wallace, first sergeant of the 202nd Army Band. "Great training. Great troops."

Soldiers from the unit took part in lunchtime "Bach's lunch" performances, performances for a command reception and a concert series held in a local park. Additionally, the 202nd Army Band provided marching performances for two Change of Command ceremonies with inspections of the troops.

For Sgt. Jennifer Bowling, a trumpet and bugle player with the band who performed during numerous ceremonies, it was the chance to perform taps during military funerals that had a special significance for her.

"Taps honors members of the armed forces in a way words can't express," said Bowling. "As the great granddaughter of an Army trumpet player, performing taps for military funerals holds special meaning for me because it allows me to give honors to the men and women who served as he did."

Filling in at Fort Eustis also gave the Soldiers another opportunity to not only showcase their talents and continue to excel as a group but also for individual members to grow as musicians and as Soldiers, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Greg Stepp, commander of the 202nd Army Band.

"As the 202nd moves through personnel transitions, the opportunity to develop new leaders in a real world environment was invaluable," he said. "New challenges were provided for Soldiers to develop their leadership abilities and musical abilities while providing musical support for Fort Eustis and TRADOC."

And providing that musical support is something of great importance.

"The opportunity to support TRADOC in their public outreach mission is of great significance, said Stepp, adding that the band proved themselves again as mission capable during their time at Fort Eustis.