89th Army Band

15 October 1950 - 24 February 1955

ACTUAL STRENGTH Officers: 0; Warrant Officers: l; Enlisted: 28
TOE STRENGTH (TOE 20-107n, Dec 47) Officers: 0; Warrant Officers: 1; Enlisted: 34
TRAINING STATION Fort Sill, OK remained at Fort Sill for period of active duty
REMARKS/NOTES Returned to state status in Rochester, NY

Contributed by SPC Tatsuya Hondo. Special acknowledgment to the Commander and Conductor of the 89th Army Band (New York Guard) CPT Roy C. Coates for providing research advising and support

This contribution vehemently aids in preserving what remains of the unit’s history during its service in the Korean War. Much of the unit’s activities and its significant contributions are hidden from history. However, in May 2019 documents recovered from the National Archives revealed the detailed activities of the unit for the year 1951; Activities Report for Year of 1951 records produced in circa 1952 by then Commander Warrant Office Junior Grade (WOJG) Ralph V. Smith.
The 89th Army Band served as a musical ancillary to Fort Sill, Oklahoma during its federal service in the Korean War, serving approximately 190 days into the Korean War, and onwards into 24 February 1955. Mobilized on 15 October 1950, the band was federalized by Headquarters 1st Army, Governors Island, New York. Aside from the 199th Army Band (serving and existing synchronous at the same time elsewhere), the 89th Band was the only other Army Band in the New York Army National Guard [1]

Band Activities in 1951
In 1951, the band provided 89 parades and reviews, 7 off-post parades, 40 concerts, and 18 athletic events, and more as described in the 1951 Activities Report. Throughout the year, bandsmen were given classes in military and musical subjects, “first aid, map reading, military sanitation, scouting and patrolling, transporting sick and wounded, military courtesy and discipline, school of the soldier, domestic disturbances, interior guard and sentry duties, combat duties of bandsmen, tent pitching, camouflage, music fundamentals, pitch discrimination, and sight singing.” At Fort Sill, Oklahoma in May, the band received a superior rating on an inspection by the Chief of Army Bands Branch, Washington D.C., “and has played honor guards for visiting dignitaries from various foreign countries including: Minister of War, Bolivia; Chief of Staff, Italy; and the Chief of Staff, Cuba.” In addition, the band had also went to Oklahoma City to play at the state fair in September 1951.
The Army Band had 2 Warrant Officers in the months of September and October, due to change of responsibilities, Warrant Officer Junior Grade (WOJG) Ralph V. Smith assuming command of the band. The vice WOJG Anthony R. Bacca, released per Para 4, SO 31, Hq 77th Group, dated 16 October 1951. The WOJG rank was 1 of 2 grades of warrant officers in the Army of the United States (the other being Chief Warrant Officer), enacted by Congress in 21 August 1941 [2]. Strength of the band was a total of 35 soldiers, with the lowest strength figure being 26, computed for January 1951.

Record of Events for Year 1951
-1 January 1951: Attached to the 18th Field Artillery Group
-24 April 1951: Reorganized under column 7, C2, T/O&E 20-107N
-14 June 1951: Played at the Buffalo Barbeque held at the Quanah Parker Lake, National Game and Forest Reserve, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, honoring USMA Class of 1952
-2 August 1951-5 August 1951: Band went to Oklahoma City and Tulsa to participate in Dedication Ceremonies.
-6 August 1951: Band went to Hobart, Oklahoma to participate in a parade.
-1 September 1951: Released from 18th Field Artillery Group and attached to the 77th Forward Artillery Group per G0 100 Hq TAC, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, dated 28 August 1951, effective 1 September 1951, no change to station
-21 September 1951-22 September 1951: Band went to Oklahoma City to play for State Fair
-18 October 1951: Band celebrated call to Federal Service by party at NCO Mess # 1, Fort Sill
-15 October 1951: WOJG Ralph V. Smith assumes command of the band

Reactivation of the 89th Army Band
The band was reactivated on 4 July 2001 at Camp Smith Training Site as part of the New York Guard (NYG), New York’s state defense force. NYG is one of the four military components which combine to form the New York Military Forces (the others being the New York Army National Guard, New York Air National Guard, and the New York Naval Militia).

Source: Department of the Army, The Adjutant General’s Office Washington, Departmental Records Branch, 89th Army Band Activities Report for Year of 1951 (declassified under authority PN785102). Recovered from https://catalog.archives.gov/id/811035
[1] “Other than the 199th Army Band, this was the only other Army Band in the NYARNG, and served as an Army Band in WW2 and Korea” -NYGHQ, Unit Designation, Table of Distribution and Allowances, Unit History, Coat of Arms and Distinctive Insignia for the 89th Army Band, NYG, memorandum for The Adjutant General, dated 17 February 2007
[2] Public Law 77-230, Chapter 384, An Act To strengthen the national defense by creating the grade of chief warrant officer in the Army, and for other purposes