Band inactivation set for Sept. 15; availability to decrease after July

Fort Lee’s 392nd Army Band is preparing to inactivate on Sept. 15. Preparations for that shutdown, noted its commander Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Landrum, will greatly reduce the music group’s ability to support command and community events after July 31.

“A system is being implemented by the Training and Doctrine Command Band at Joint Base Langley-Eustis to accommodate supportable requests in this area when the 392nd is no longer available,” Landrum said.

The decision to shutter the 392nd, the band commander observed, is largely due to manpower reshaping initiatives designed to enhance the services deploy-ability and lethality within the confines of tighter budget authorizations. Service leaders are emphasizing the hard decisions being made to ensure the Army’s focus is on readiness – streamlining requirements not associated with training or equipping the force is a necessity.

Landrum said that while the TRADOC Band is currently comprised of about a dozen Soldier musicians, it is projected to grow to 53 members over the next two years.

Conversely, the 392nd’s personnel numbers will decrease as musicians complete their tour of duty and head elsewhere without replacement. Landrum said approved band requests between now and September will be carried out with a combination of Fort Lee and TRADOC-assigned musicians. To facilitate this coordination, he is emphasizing the need for early band support arrangements.

“We will obviously lose capability as this progresses over the coming months,” he noted. “There will be fewer instances when we’re able to support small-venue events like ethnic observances and off-post community concerts, and there likely won’t be enough resources to support many of those types of programs by bussing musicians up here from Fort Eustis, which also could be the case once we’re fully transitioned.

“The bottom line is the band support program in a few months will be quite different than it is now, so customers need to get used to the idea of coordinating early through the appropriate channels and clearly identifying what the need is so the best resourcing decisions can be made.”

According to the TRADOC Band’s webpage, requests for performances should be made at least 90 days in advance of official military functions, or 120 days for off-post activities being hosted by civilian/community organizations. Details on requesting support are available at www.tradoc.army.mil/Organizations/TRADOC-Staff/TRADOC-Band.

The 380th Army Reserve Band, based in Richmond, also supports military ceremonies and official functions in this area. They can be contacted through either of the following websites: https://sites.google.com/site/380tharmyband or https://twitter.com/380thArmyBand. The 29th Infantry Division Band (Virginia National Guard) is based in Troutsville and its current point of contact can be reached at richard.a.carr.mil@mail.mil.

Landrum said his band is not planning a farewell concert similar to the one that occurred in 2016 when it was facing inactivation then – a decision that was reversed a short time later. His group is viewing its grand performance at the annual Fourth at the Fort celebration in Williams Stadium as its final thank you for the community’s support.

Patrick Buffett, Managing Editor
Fort Lee Traveller