In June of 2019, World War II Second Lieutenant (2LT) Donald Waful visited Fort Drum, NY. His one request of Major General Brian Mennes, Commanding General of Fort Drum, was to see his band play.
2LT Donald Waful graduated in Class Four of Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, KY and was stationed for training at Fort Drum when it was then known as Pine Camp. While serving as a tank platoon commander in the 1st Armored Division, he was captured during operations in Tunisia in 1942. He spent the next three years as a Prisoner of War in Italy, Poland, and Germany. During his imprisonment he rose to the task of maintaining the morale of his fellow prisoners. Noted by friends as a “wicked trombone player”, LT Waful recruited musicians, singers, and dancers to create musical performance groups within the camps. Supplemented with music and instruments by the international YMCA based in Switzerland, LT Waful’s efforts are what notably kept the men in good spirits throughout those years.
While serving, he carried on a long-distance romance with Cassie, an Army nurse who served at Utah beach during the Normandy invasion and then the Battle of the Bulge. The two were engaged after their third date, and she waited three years for his release. At the end of the war, the two were married three weeks later in France by a French minister who spoke exactly zero English.
Music binds us together even in the worst of times. It connects across generations, bringing current Soldiers closer to those who served before them. The 10th Mountain Division Band continues to perpetuate service identity, traditions, and morale of their fellow Mountain Soldiers. They truly embody the spirit of their motto- Climb to Glory!
For more information about the 10th Mountain Division Band Click Here