• Aberdeen Proving Ground commanders bid farewell to a group that has been the face of the installation for 51 years during a send-off for the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band at the Shore Park picnic area Aug. 2. Maj. Gen. Nick G. Justice, commander of APG and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, hosted the send off as a show of appreciation for the many years the band has served the installation. Justice was joined by Col. Orlando W. Ortiz, APG Garrison and deputy installation commander, installation and RDECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Marin, and APG Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades. Band Soldiers and Family members dined in the park pavilion along with invited guests. First Sergeant's Barbecue provided the food and refreshments. After the meal, Justice commended band members for consistent and positive representation of the installation, and surprised Sgt. Anthony Gentilo with an impact award. Gentilo, who sang the national anthem during the Armed Forces Appreciation festivities at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen July 30, was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for his performance. Justice said Gentilo was even more impressive when he sang "God Bless America" during the traditional seventh inning stretch. "I could not believe the control he had over that crowd," Justice said. "More than a few people were in tears by the time he began the last crescendo. "And that's what you bring to music in the Army," he told the band members. "You present the best view of the American Soldiers. We thank you so much and we wish you a fond farewell because I don't know how in the world we'll replace the AMC Band." Ortiz said that the surrounding community will miss the band as much as the installation. "You should fully understand that you are greatly appreciated on this installation," he said. "It is because of your professionalism that you have the reputation that you do. You will always have a home here." Justice thanked Mary Jane Jernigan, president of the Aberdeen chapter of the Association of the United States Army, which paid for the event. Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Spohn accepted commemorative plaques from Justice and Ortiz on behalf of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Peter Gillies who is on the ground at the band's new home at the new AMC headquarters in Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Spohn said that while the majority of the band will have relocated by winter, elements will remain to support APG until the spring. "Those remaining will provide support through the holiday season to some level until March [2011]," Spohn said. He added that his wife, band member Staff Sgt. Wendy Spohn, who is from Cullman, Ala., near the Huntsville area, is at Redstone and pregnant with their second child. "She's looking forward to having the baby near where she grew up," he said. "She never thought she'd get stationed that close to home."

    Commanders send off AMC Band

    Aberdeen Proving Ground commanders bid farewell to a group that has been the face of the installation for 51 years during a send-off for the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band at the Shore Park picnic area Aug. 2. Maj. Gen. Nick G. Justice, commander of...

Page last updated Thu August 12th, 2010 at 14:17