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Army Band Sergeant Wearing Officer Branch Insignia


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I'm not that familiar with the regulations regarding the Army's band regalia, but this one puzzles me. The photo identifies the soldier as Master Sergeant Earl R. Nays, Arranger for the United States Army Field Band (formerly The Army Ground Forces Band). He is wearing Master Sergeant chevrons dating from the 1948-1951 period but he is wearing officer U.S. and Band collar insignia.


The Institute of Heraldry shows and enlisted Army Bands collar insignia but indicates it was only approved in 2001 and states that personnel assigned to Army Bands are regimentally affiliated to the Adjutant General's Corps. Was this correct for such a band member during this time period?




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In the Keller book on Army patches (41st to 106th Inf Divisions) shows a WWII 95th Inf Div muscian posing in Class A with his Girlfriend, a nice close up portrait, he's not only wearing the enlistedman's verion of this Lyre insignia, but also a Musician Cap Device (please note the image was described as a Army WWII Cap Badge, though it might be for a Civilian Band, it looks similar to the Army cap device seen in the photo of the 95th Div Bandsman).



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Military bands have long badged up with all types of unauthorized, repurposed and off-the-wall trimmings. Same for drill teams, honor guards, etc.


The lyre inside a wreath has since about 1900 been a stock item -- military and civilian -- including use by hundreds of high school bands. IIRC the West Point "Hellcats" band has long used it, inter alia.


The latterday authorization by TIOH of the "branch" insignia is just admin tidying up, recognizing an existing item, probably when someone pointed that for inventory/budget means it needed legitimization.


Army bands are by TO&E AG branch units, as are the individual musician personnel, and officers are AG members.


Musicians also have worn officer clothing: Glenn Miller's USAAF band wore OFFICER Shade 51 pinks and greens on stage and probably before and after shows. IIRC I once saw pix of a WAC band in the ETO, 1945, likewise attired -- cannot be sure, but IIRC the officers wore pink skirts, but the enlisted had Shade 51 local-made Ike jackets. These photos were with an album of 82nd/508thPIR/FAA subjects, Berlin and maybe Frankfurt (508 as USAFET guard).

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