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Glenn Miller’s Jeep Band

• CATEGORIES: Features

According to the University of Colorado, in 1943 Glenn Miller was asked to “organize a group of outstanding AAF bands to boost morale.  Each would contain musicians especially selected from the draft.  Each would be trained to play both inspiring marching music and outstanding dance band music.  He envisioned himself as a morale and band builder.  While working to achieve his objectives, Miller encountered frustrating opposition from some officers within the military bureaucracy.  He did, however, have powerful allies in Washington, who helped him to circumvent red tape.”

Called the “Band of the Training Command of the Army Air Forces under the direction of Capt. Glenn Miller” and stationed at New Haven, Ct, Miller continued to run into some problems. “A famous, if exaggerated, story soon circulated wherein a military official scolded Miller for ruining traditional Army marching music, saying that Sousa marches were as perfectly fine in 1943 as they had been in 1917, to wit Miller reportedly replied, “Tell me, Major, are we still flying the same airplanes that we did in 1917?”

Despite continued flack from those who disagreed with Miller’s plans, Miller continued to make changes. A newsreel eventually captured a practice session. “The newsreel showed off what was called the ‘jeep band’.   That is, the marching band’s big drum sets and drummers that were carried aboard jeeps and driven alongside the musicians as they marched on the Green or at the Yale Bowl.  The AAF apparently thought Miller was doing the right thing because he simply kept on doing it, much to the delight of the young people in the services who were marching and listening to Miller’s “updated military music”.

This image comes from the University of Colorado Music Department.  I searched for other images on the net, but didn’t have any luck.

 

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