Concerts to get patriotic sendoff

DOWNEY - The summer concert series at Furman Park will close with a patriotic performance Wednesday by the United States Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band.The free concert begins at 7 p.m. The Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band was established for service during World War II and was deactivated after the war, its members sent to serve in Marine units in China and at Marine Corps Air Station in Ewa, Hawaii. The band was officially reactivated at Marine Corps Air Station in Miami in support of the Korean conflict. In 1957, while the Third Marine Aircraft Wing relocated to El Toro, the band remained in Miami and was assigned to Marine Air Group (MAG) 31. Later, the musicians were integrated into the Air Fleet Pacific Band in El Toro. It was at this time the band received the title of Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band. The band remained at El Toro until 1997, when Naval Air Station Miramar was converted to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. From 1997-1999, all units relocated from El Toro to Miramar as part of the base realignment process. The band reported to its current location in Miramar in January 1999. The Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band has deployed numerous times throughout its history. In addition to the initial deployment to China during World War II, the band's combat history includes a seven-month deployment in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In February 2003, the band returned to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom for a four-month deployment as a perimeter security platoon at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base. They were recently deployed to Afghanistan as part of the addition of troops there. All members of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band are combat-trained Marines. An annual weapons-qualification process ensures that Marine musicians are as proficient with weapons as they are with musical instruments. The Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band has performed in concert halls throughout the world, from the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa to the Hussein Palace Amphitheatre in Babylon, Iraq. The concert band performs a variety of music, including wind ensemble literature, Broadway show tunes, film scores, classical transcriptions, contemporary concert band music and traditional marches. In support of music education in schools, the band often provides educational concerts, clinics and workshops at high schools and colleges. The band's commanding general is Major Gen. Thomas Conant.

********** Published: August 19, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 18