FDC 50th anniversary celebration
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps performs during their 50th anniversary celebration at Conmy Hall on Feb. 13.

A one-of-a-kind unit in all of the armed forces began the celebration of a special milestone which brought together the original, past and present members.
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Fife and Drum Corps celebrated their 50th Anniversary in a kick-off ceremony at Conmy Hall on Saturday. They dedicated a brand-new twenty two person-size show, drawing music from the past 50 years, to the corps alumni.

The Fife and Drum Corps, founded on February 23, 1960, was created as an official ceremonial escort to the U.S. president. The musicians of this unit recall the days of the American Revolution as they perform in uniforms patterned after those worn by the musicians of Gen. George Washington's Continental Army.

One of the highlights of the celebration were remarks made by Lt. Gen. David Huntoon, Jr., director of the Army Staff, speaking of how proud he was to have served in the regiment with the corps and how their contribution to the Army and nation is incalculable, remaining both relevant and timeless.

''For fifty years now, your remarkable musical team has brought the authentic sights and sounds of 19th century martial music to millions around the globe in a way that is never forgotten, always memorable," Huntoon said. ''From the White House South Lawn to Summerall Field, from the Edinburgh Tattoo to Twilight Tattoo, and from fife and drum workshops to regional musters, this wonderful unit is simply the best - you always take it to the bank."

The ceremony added a special edge to the performance, explained Master Sgt. Richard Rolls, the current, longest serving member of the Fife and Drum Corps.

''When Gen. Huntoon mentioned to me, 'You guys obviously brought a little something extra to this performance,' he summed it up well for me in his speech, 'the corps is committed to the memory of patriot sacrifice, and to honoring those who have continued the unbroken chain of duty, sacrifice and service to this day.'"

The 50th anniversary celebration was full of personal significance for the current corps members.

''It was a grand moment of validation for having endured the many difficult growing pains and strenuous ceremonies that have been the substance of my Army career," said Rolls.

''The 50th was basically an awesome, big family reunion. It's a great feeling to be in the right place at the right time," said Sgt. First Class Donald Francisco, a fifer. ''It is an honor to be in this unit; it is also very humbling."

''Being the newest member of the Fife and Drum Corps, the 50th anniversary celebration kick-off was quite eye-opening," said Spc. Jessica Barrows. ''Having the opportunity to talk to many of the past members of the Corps and hearing about their experiences while serving was incredible; it made me realize the hardships that the Corps has been through and surpassed, as well as the many honors it has received. It made me very honored and excited to be part of such a unique, successful unit and I can't wait to see what the next 50 years bring."

This year the Fife and Drum Corps will begin a series of special concerts, a tour of musters (gatherings of similar period marching ensembles) and a special tattoo written for the anniversary.

Page last updated Mon February 22nd, 2010 at 13:18