Lackland Air Force base is the home of the 737th Training Group Drum and Bugle Corps. The Drum and Bugle Corps is made up of trainees that are currently in Basic Military Training (BMT). New arrivals at BMT may be “selected” to be a part of the Drum and Bugle Corp, which is also known as the Band Flight.
The band flights are assigned to the 321 Training Squadron (TRS), however not all flights at the 321 TRS are band flights. Band flights are typically formed every two weeks. If your Airmen is assigned to a band flight there will be some differences to their training as well as how things are done during some of the graduation week events. We have listed below some information we have compiled to help you if you have an Airman in a band flight.
Being Selected For Band Flight
Upon arrival at BMT, at some point during in processing, the new trainees will be asked if they have experience playing musical instruments. For those that indicate they do have experience, they will likely be assigned to the band flight. If there are not enough trainees with musical experience to fill the flight, it is possible that trainees with no musical experience will be selected to be a part of the band flight. In those cases, the trainee will likely be assigned to play a musical instrument that is relatively easy to play. We have heard that male trainees without experience often will be assigned to play bass drums and female trainees will be assigned to play cymbals.
Differences In Training Activities
Trainees assigned to band flights have to accomplish all requirements that non-band flight trainees have to do. In addition to those requirements, band flight members will spend time playing their instruments and practicing the songs they will be playing in their performances. They do these practice sessions several times a week. Since the trainees are doing these practice sessions, they often will not do other extra tasks that non-band flight trainees have to do. An example is doing extra detail activities outside of their dormitories or squadrons. They of course are still responsible for doing the same type of dormitory activities and the details that come with them.
One perk about being in a band flight is trainees will get their blue uniforms issued to them earlier than non-band flight trainees. This occurs because they wear their blues during performances. Another perk is that if there is a special event occurring off base, the band may be chosen to perform at that event. This of course can be a very nice perk to be able to leave the base while the other trainees are “stuck” on base doing various details.
The band flights perform at the graduation events each week. This will occur up to and including the week they actually graduate. Since they will be performing in their own graduation ceremonies, there will be some differences on when and how you will see your new Airman during those events.
Graduation Week Events
There are some things you, as a family member of a band flight Airman, will need to know when you come to Lackland AFB for graduation week. We have listed a summary of how some ceremonies may be different for you and your Airman during graduation events.
Airman’s Run – Your band flight Airman will participate in the Airman’s Run just like all the other new Airmen. Get a good spot, loosen up your vocal chords and be prepared to yell and cheer for your Airman as they run by.
Coin and Retreat Ceremony – The band flight does perform during the Coin and Retreat Ceremonies. As a result, they will not be standing in the same location on the retreat pad as non-band flight Airmen. The band flight will stand in formation in an area between two sets of bleachers. We have included a picture that shows, to the best of our knowledge where they usually are. The band flight Airmen will receive their coins at the same time as the other Airmen; however, they will not be quite as visible as the Airmen on the retreat pad. They will however be very close to the people sitting in the bleachers on either side of them, so you should try your best to sit in one of those areas so you can get a close up view of your Airman.
At the end of the Coin Ceremony, the band flight will “sound retreat” to begin the Retreat Ceremony. They will then play the National Anthem while retreat is conducted. To mark the conclusion of the Ceremonies, the band will play the Air Force song. Once the ceremony is over, the band flights must return to their squadron to return their instruments. This means you will need to wait a little extra time (usually around 15 minutes) before you will be able to meet and congratulate your new Airman. You will meet your Airman at the Reception Center. If your Airman is an Honor Graduate they will usually be allowed to have another Airman return their instrument to the squadron for them so they can attend the Honor Graduate reception which immediately follows the Coin and Retreat Ceremonies.
Graduation Ceremony – The band will also perform at the Graduation Ceremony and participate in the Pass and Review portion of the event. If you are not aware of the Pass and Review, it is when the flights march in front of the bleachers at the beginning of the event. At the completion of the ceremony the band will march off the field to return their instruments to the buses.