“Although we are father and son, we share a different type of camaraderie now,” said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Ruddle, who has been serving in the same unit as his son for the past six years. “I’ve learned to see many of Andrew’s qualities that are perhaps sometimes overlooked as a parent. Over the past six years, our relationship has definitely gone through a series of changes; we’ve gotten a lot closer.”

Richard and his son, Staff Sgt. Andrew Ruddle, are snare drum players in the Fife and Drum Corps, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the only unit of its kind in the Army. FDC entertains millions of people in major parades, pageants and historical celebrations throughout the United States and abroad averaging approximately 500 performances a year.

“We play well together,” said Andrew.

“We come from the same genes,” said Richard, finishing his son’s statement.

Andrew said he has benefited from Richard’s guidance in the FDC.

“I’ve grown a lot more. Having dad around in a senior position, as well as his leadership, has really helped, “said Andrew.

The elite mission of the FDC, to perform at all armed-forces arrival ceremonies for visiting dignitaries and heads of state at the White House, allows the Ruddles to share much more than just a compassionate relationship. It also allows them to share in significant moments.

Richard performed for the arrival of the Queen of England in 1996 and said it was neat to see his son perform for her arrival in 2007.

Through their abilities to share in these unique opportunities and equally supportive relationship, the Ruddles have left minimum room for competitive egos, which sometimes exist between various musicians. In fact, whether it’s the mentions of a proud parent, or just the ear for a good musician, Richard is not too prideful to boast about Andrew’s exceptional skills.

“Andrew is the better snare player,” said Richard. “He possesses raw, natural talent.”

Either way, extraordinary musical ability runs in the family.