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February 25, 2006

Glenn Miller's Band

I well remember the first time I heard the Glenn Miller Army Air Force band, even if it was recorded. I was in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, where Honolulu is located. I was a recent transfer to Division Headquarters from a rifle company (Company 1, 179th Regiment) in the 98th Infantry division. A few weeks later I would be transferred again, to the daily military newspaper, The Stars & Stripes, but I did not yet know that. The 98th division was being readied for an invasion of Japan. Our mess hall was in the open at headquarters because we were fortunate enough to be in Hawaii, where the sun almost always shines. On weekends, it was about the only way to soak up a few rays.

Anyway, the public address system was playing some standard pieces, when along came the Miller military band playing "St. Louis Blues March," a new arrangement of an old tune, in march tempo, of all things! In a moment I realized I was having a dream, and the Miller band sound was the subject. I asked the Pfc. sitting across the outdoor table what was going on. Surprised, he told me Glenn Miller had recently joined the Army. (This was a dream remember.) Mr. Miller formed a band and began transforming the music into something GI's like I was could understand. Then I woke up, and found the GM Army Air Force band was on the air from New York City, directed by Larry O'Brien, and it was a one hour show on our own channel 13, from Oklahoma City. So it was partly true, partly fantasy. I enjoyed every moment, and I will gladly contribute to a fund to have them return. It was, in short, a wonderful hour.

I like the Glenn Miller band, even the recordings and dreams. You may have guessed that.