COVID-19 has caused global upheaval and the U.S. Army is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control, while maintaining readiness to defend the nation. The National Guard has been called to active duty in many states to assist with the pandemic often including Soldiers from Army Bands. Even though our enemy is a microscopic virus, we find ourselves in a large-scale combat operation to protect the citizens of the United States.
FM 3-0 describes large-scale combat operations as- “intense, lethal, and brutal. Their conditions include complexity, chaos, fear, violence, fatigue, and uncertainty. To an ever increasing degree, activities in the information environment are inseparable from ground operations. They present the greatest challenge for Army forces.” This definition applies to our current environment. So what role do Army Bands play in large-scale combat operations?
No matter the situation or environment Army Bands provide music that perpetuates service identity, traditions, and morale. It also enhances the public’s confidence in the Army and inspires patriotism. Army Bands are the only arts organizations equipped to deliver music under any condition. They are trained as Soldiers first, which means they can go places and reach people even in the most dire of circumstances. Music is an essential part of our humanity, as demonstrated by the people of Italy during this crisis.
Army Bands such as the U.S. Army Field Band and the 34th Infantry Division Band are making videos for social media to reach us while we stay home. Some stories are even making it to national news outlets. The 78th Army Band is offering masterclasses to the many students whose schools are closed. As bands continue to deliver music to Soldiers and the American Public, they also are assisting with a variety of tasks to support COVID-19 operations. The 13th and 248th Army Bands are assisting with state testing sites. The West Point Band is providing operations support to the United State Military Academy COVID Task Force.
No matter how difficult the times, music is there to comfort us and bring meaning to seemingly senseless events. Army Bands will continue their mission, whether it be in large-scale ground combat, or combatting a global pandemic. Stay healthy and safe at a social distance until our local and national authorities give us the all clear.