ANG Band of the Southwest performs at groundbreaking ceremony

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tyler McQuiston
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation hosted their groundbreaking ceremony in Arlington, Texas on March 25, 2022. Distinguished guests in attendance included Former United States President George W. Bush with his wife Laura Bush, 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Joseph M. Martin, 15 Medal of Honor Recipients and other guests and family members.

“The National Medal of Honor Museum will enshrine the stories of our Medal of Honor recipients for the future generations to come,” said Gen. Mark A. Milley, 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Visitors will come to understand the meaning and price for freedom and appreciate the virtue of putting service before self.”

Since the Civil War, over 40 million brave individuals have served in the United States Armed Forces. Only 3,511 service members have received the Medal of Honor, and 66 are alive today.

“We don’t believe we did America a favor by our service and sacrifice, we believe that God did us a favor by allowing us to be born in this great country among people like you,” said Patrick Brady, Medal of Honor recipient.

The United States Air Force Band of the West preformed throughout the ceremony. The band played in partnership with the Air National Guard Band of the Southwest, members from the Band of Mid America and USAF Heritage of America band to create the USAF Total Force Band. Their mission is to honor, inspire and connect through music.

“I was extremely proud and humbled by the Airman-musicians that came together from four different organizations, across three different Major Commands and with the Air National Guard to elevate the pomp and circumstance of this significant ceremony,” said Maj. Dustin Doyle, USAF Band of the West commander.

The Air National Guard Band is currently supporting Operation Lone Star (OLS) a joint mission between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Military Department along the southern border between Texas and Mexico. Nine of those band members were able to leave and support the Medal of Honor ceremony.

“Supporting an event of this magnitude is always a special feeling,” said MSgt. Douglas Kost, Section Chief of operations for the Band of the West. “These types of events do not happen often, so I was glad we were able to have a role in making the day special for the Medal of Honor recipients.”

The city of Arlington is proud to be the future home of the National Medal of Honor Museum. The museum will serve as the only national institution dedicated to the livelihood and legacy of the service members who have and will become Medal of Honor recipients.

“I was extremely honored to be a part of such a ceremony,” said Airman Jonah Kelly, Band of Mid America member. “Performing for this audience was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Members of the band were coined by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General Joseph M. Martin for their performance. The band will continue to practice and preform throughout the year. Upcoming performances include ceremonies across Joint Base San Antonio as well as travel to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in support of their community relations and recruiting efforts.