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“Women in the Army Band” [A follow-up to Beyonce and the WAC Band]

Just as a FYI, during WWII there were five WAC Bands, the 400th through the 404th Army Service Forces Bands. As an aside, the 404th WAC Band was Colored. They were all deactivated after WWII, and in August 1948 the 400th ASF Band was reactivated and redesignated the 14th Army Band (WAC). We remained in existence until being integrated (with men) in 1976.
As a proud guitar player from the WAC Band I had the privilege of serving with the same ladies you did, as well as many, many more. Musically the WAC Band was considered on a par with the The Army Band and the Army Field Band. We also did major tours throughout the US, played all the major car races, did the gig at the Kentucky Derby, played the White House and the Pentagon, marched three Presidential Inaugural parades, and etc. All while we also supported Ft McClellan as the post band. Although we won’t play Candide again, our Band has a reunion every other year at Ft McClellan and we can still play.
I know our trumpets were playing Maynard Ferguson charts in the ’70’s, so women in all female rock bands that can cut the parts is not a new concept – it’s just that we were the best kept secret in the Army.
Thank you for thinking of us with your article. It’s not often a male bandsman even knows we existed and that makes your kind words about us that much more special.
Karen Syverson
SFC, USA retired