FORT SILL, OK (KSWO)- The 77th Army band will continue its musical mission at Fort Sill. But for four other Army Band across the country that's not the case. They're being decommissioned, due to budget cuts.
Army bands help provide the backdrop for many events on post like change of commander ceremonies. They also play at graduations, parades, and funerals.You can even request them for private events. On average, they perform at about 400 shows and concerts every year.
Warrant Officer One Bridgette Brenmark said as of now their mission is not changing. Her goal is to continue to work with the band to support soldiers and the Lawton-Fort Sill community.
When most people think of the Army, they think soldiers in combat, but what about those who support the mission through musical instruments..
"Music is a combat multiplier its one of those things that a lot of people don't even realize how it fits into the Army piece, but we can't have soldiers with the will to fight...win wars without that will so we are a big important part of that and keeping people resilient and motivated and having that will too keep fighting for our freedom." Warrant Officer One, Bridgette Brenmark, is in charge of more than 80 musicians in the 77th U.S Army Band. Brenmark said the band plays at various functions on Fort Sill and in surrounding communities, sometimes with the help of other local musicians and Cameron University students. "We work with them quite frequently for some of my soldiers will help them out with their concerts and they will help us out with our concerts."
In addition to those events, Army musicians can be deployed to perform overseas, and Brenmark knows first hand what that experience is like.
"I myself have deployed twice with the 82nd Airborne Ignition and that was a great privilege of mine to play for soldier's in harms way," said Brenmark.
Brenmark said when bands are deactivated, those soldiers are sent to other posts that have active bands, depending on instrumental need. Right now she said, their numbers are not changing and she will continue to focus on her job.
"Well honestly the Army is always growing and decreasing and the band is a part of the Army and we are all apart of that. I'm not a part of those decisions that are made but its nothing to panic about at this time we are here and all I can say is just go out and continue to support our Army music by requesting us to come out to you," said Brenmark.
Brenmark adds while bands have taken a hit over the last few years, members still have to maintain their duties as a solider first completing all the same types of training as every other soldier. But within the department, it is so much more than just playing music. The 77th US Army Band is self supporting.
"We don't have support staff so we are our own supply people our own administrative people own human resource folks and so all of my people serve double duty to keep the band up and running ands that's something a lot of people maybe don't know so when we are not actively rehearsing we are still doing support task that support our unit as whole," said Brenmark.
As of now Brenmark said there is no one from the four bands being cut that are set to come to Fort Sill. She said soldiers are always moving from location to location, and that it will be up to other Army officials to determine where exactly they will go.